If you’re a parent with young children, then you’ll probably hear this a lot on Christmas Eve: “Where’s Santa right now?” With tracking tools like the NORAD Santa Tracker and Google’s Santa Tracker, everyone can know when Father Christmas will arrive.
Here’s how to follow Santa’s journey this Christmas Eve.
NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command) had the first-ever Santa tracker in 1955. While it used to be just a boring animation of Santa’s sleigh and reindeer flying across a map, NORAD has added tons of features in recent years, such as fun mini-games, videos, stories and Christmas music.
Rather than a 2D model, the NORAD Santa tracker has a 3D visual depiction of Santa’s journey as the platform was built on Cesium’s open-source 3D mapping library. It also uses Bing Maps satellite imagery, making the globe look more “realistic.”
Along with the tracker tool, users can also see a “Santa Cam,” which has videos of Santa making his way around the world to deliver presents to every kid on the nice list.
NORAD’s website has Santa’s North Pole Village, which includes a holiday countdown, arcade-style games, kid-friendly music, an online library and various videos that can be watched on NORAD’s official YouTube channel.
NORAD Santa tracker is available on noradsanta.org, or you can download the official NORAD Tracks Santa app on Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store. The website is available in English, Chinese, French, Spanish, Japanese, German, Italian and Portuguese.
You can also track Santa through NORAD Tracker’s social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
For a more personable experience, call 1-877-HI-NORAD (1-877-446-6732), and you’ll speak with a volunteer from the organization’s call center who’ll update you on Santa’s location.
Plus, through a partnership with Amazon, NORAD lets Amazon Alexa users track Santa. Users can open the Amazon Alexa app and go to “Skills & Games,” then search for “NORAD Tracks Santa” skill. Once enabled, you can ask: “Alexa, where’s Santa?” You can also say, “Alexa, call Santa,” and the jolly man will hop on the phone with you and your kids. There’s an option to leave a voicemail message for him as well.
Google’s Santa Tracker launched in 2004 and simulates the tracking of Santa. The website features a live map of Santa’s current location, his next stop, a live video feed of his route, and the estimated arrival time for each location. It also shows the total distance that Santa has traveled so far and the number of presents he has delivered.
Throughout December, the page operates as Santa’s Village, where users can play mini-games, take quizzes, watch animated videos and explore other interactive activities. For instance, players can build their own elf in Google’s “Elf Maker” game as well as host a concert with “Elf Jamband.” Kids can also learn how to code with easy and fun tutorials like “Code Boogie.”
Additionally, users can enlist the help of Google Assistant to learn about Santa’s whereabouts. You can ask, “Hey Google, where’s Santa?” or even “What’s new at the North Pole?” which lets you tune into Google’s North Pole Newscast where you can hear what Santa and his elves are up to that day.
Google Assistant also lets you call Santa himself. When you call him, Santa will be rehearsing for a concert and will ask for your musical expert advice.
And don’t forget to ask Google Assistant to tell you a Santa joke!