Santa Claus is coming to your town, and once again, your kids will be able to track Father Christmas’s whereabouts as he makes his annual journey around the world.
Starting at 2:00 a.m. MT on Dec. 24, NORAD’s Santa Tracker goes live and telephone lines open up so that volunteers can answer queries from children curious about Santa’s location.
Google Maps will also be running their own version of a Santa-tracker, powered with the latest NORAD updates gathered from radar, satellite, and fighter jet data. Just type "Santa" into Google Maps to follow his movements around the globe.
NORAD, a bi-national Canadian and U.S. military organization, traces the tradition back to 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. ad misprinted a phone number for kids to call Santa directly.
“Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD (NORAD’s predecessor) commander-in-chief’s operations ‘hotline,’” according to NORAD’s tracker website. Rather than shut down the phone lines, NORAD’s first Santa-tracker, Colonel Harry Shoup, advised his team to check the radars for Santa’s whereabouts to inform the children who called in.
As technology advanced, NORAD added more satellites and radars to collect data and pinpoint Santa’s exact location as he made his way from chimney to chimney. In 1998, high-speed SantaCams were installed around the world to catch digital images and videos of Santa.
Unfortunately, due to widespread power outages after a weekend ice storm some children in Ontario may not be able to log on to NORAD’s website to check if Santa is headed their way.
But no fear! NORAD hasn’t done away with its hotline. Children can call in to request Santa’s location with a live agent on Christmas Eve at 1-877-HI-NORAD or 1-877-446-6723.
NORAD's Santa map goes live at 2:00 a.m. MT. Follow his Christmas journey below: