Today is Monday, Dec. 24, the 359th day of 2012. There are seven days left in the year. This is Christmas Eve.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Dec. 24, 1955, the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., fielded a series of phone calls from children wanting to know the whereabouts of Santa Claus after an ad in a local newspaper mistakenly gave the Center's number; thus began a tradition continued by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) of tracking Santa's location the night before Christmas.

Glancing Backward Locally:

25 years ago - 1987

An agreement with the Troy Fire Company for establishment of a satellite fire station next to the county manor in West Burlington Township was approved by the Bradford County Commissioners recently.

Those celebrating birthdays on Christmas day include Ruben Neuber of Sugar Run, who will be 79, and Nancy Walters of Wysox.

Pvt. Henry G. Evans Jr., son of Jane Evans of RR2, Troy, has completed basic training at Fort Knox, Ky. Evans is a 1987 graduate of Troy High School.

50 years ago - 1962

William Estell, with a massive display of colored lights topped with a white star, won first prize in this year's Christmas decoration contest sponsored by the Wysox Chamber of Commerce. He will receive $20.

The annual Charity Ball in Towanda was an artistic and financial success over the weekend, despite the snowfall and ice that made entrance to and exit from the SCI community center more hazardous than Lee Vincent's version of the Twist.

Mrs. Madeline Ehlman, president of the Penn-York Council of Girl Scouts, has announced the purchase by the council of the house and property located at 656 Park Place, Elmira. The house will be used to accommodate clerical and professional offices necessary to the operation of the council.

75 years ago - 1937

Employees of the Myrna Lee hosiery mill in Towanda with their families and friends will have a Christmas party at the mill today and elaborate plans have been made for a merry time.

Plans are complete for the annual Christmas party given the children of the Valley this morning in the Capitol Theatre in Waverly by local lodge 1490, Loyal Order of Moose, it was announced.

Esther Allen of Towanda High School holds high score on the girls' rifle team organized by Jay Foreman, faculty member. Esther, who had never shot a gun before, made a score of 43 out of 50 on the Court Street range.

Elsewhere on this date:

In 1524, Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama - who had discovered a sea route around Africa to India - died in Cochin, India.

In 1814, the War of 1812 officially ended as the United States and Britain signed the Treaty of Ghent.

In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe as part of Operation Overlord.

In 1968, the Apollo 8 astronauts, orbiting the moon, read passages from the Old Testament Book of Genesis during a Christmas Eve telecast.

In 1980, Americans remembered the U.S. hostages in Iran by burning candles or shining lights for 417 seconds - one second for each day of captivity.

Today's Birthdays: Songwriter-bandleader Dave Bartholomew is 92. Author Mary Higgins Clark is 85. Federal health official Anthony S. Fauci is 72. Recording company executive Mike Curb is 68. Rock singer-musician Lemmy (Motorhead) is 67. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., is 66. Actor Grand L. Bush is 57. Actor Clarence Gilyard is 57. Actress Stephanie Hodge is 56. The president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai (HAH'-mihd KAHR'-zeye), is 55. Rock musician Ian Burden (The Human League) is 55. Actor Anil Kapoor is 53. Actor Wade Williams is 51. Designer Kate Spade is 50. Rock singer Mary Ramsey (10,000 Maniacs) is 49. Actor Mark Valley is 48. Actor Diedrich Bader is 46. Actor Amaury Nolasco is 42. Singer Ricky Martin is 41. Author Stephenie Meyer ("Twilight") is 39. "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest is 38. Rock singer Louis Tomlinson (One Direction) is 21.

Thought for Today: "Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful." - The Rev. Norman Vincent Peale (born 1898, died this day in 1993).