With Father Christmas streaking through the sky like a reindeer-powered intercontinental ballistic missile, Christmas Eve is a dangerous time for Western civilisation.

To reduce the possibility of an accidental preemptive strike, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tracks Santa Claus on his journey around the world - and now you can, too.

From 4am Mountain time on December 24 until 3am on Christmas Day, children across the US and Canada can dial a freephone number - or visit the official website at www.noradsanta.org - to discover Santa's exact location as he delivers presents at supersonic speed.

Nothing to do since the USSR folded

The 1-877-HI-NORAD number will connect you to one of 1000 volunteers and military personnel manning the phones at the Colorado missile command.

This will be 50th year that NORAD has tracked Santa on Christmas Eve. The tradition started in 1955 after a local newspaper featured a special Santa "hotline"' phone number - but accidentally printed the operations hotline to the Continental Air Defense Command (NORAD's predecessor) instead.

Although presented as a service to youngsters across the nation, TechRadar can't help thinking that NORAD's interest in tracking Father Christmas is more political.

Just think about: he's a bearded foreigner who regularly penetrates US airspace on some kind of socialist mission to redistribute wealth. Sounds like a commie to us.