On December 24, 1955, a little girl accidentally called the top secret air defense emergency number at the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) and asked for Santa. The number, which only a few people in CONAD and the Pentagon knew, was meant to be used only in a crisis, like a Soviet attack, but had been accidentally printed in a Sears ad urging children to contact Santa. The quick-thinking colonel on duty replied that, yes, he really was Santa Claus, and after a few more calls from children looking for the big man in red, he assigned members of his staff to “track” Santa with their radar and report his location to callers. Just like that, a tradition was born. CONAD established and published a separate phone number, operated by volunteer servicemen and women, for tracking Santa, and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) continued the tradition when it replaced CONAD. Thanks to the “Santa Colonel,” tracking Santa can be a tradition in your home as well. There are plenty of ways to do it these days, so pick the one that works best for you. Just make sure the kids are in bed before Santa arrives at your house.
NORAD Tracks Santa
The original Santa tracker answers more than 12,000 emails and 100,000 calls from children around the world and receives millions of visitors to its website every Christmas Eve. It’s expanded onto social media as well; you can watch videos of Santa on YouTube or read Twitter updates with Santa’s current location. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for your area, and if you’re looking for a way to make the holiday even more special this year, there aren’t many ways better than calling NORAD’s special Santa hotline and speaking to ol’ St. Nick himself or one of his elves.
Google Santa Tracker
NORAD isn’t the only group tracking Santa’s progress on Christmas Eve these days. Google’s Santa dashboard tells you where Santa is, where he’s going next, how many presents he’s delivered already, and how far he’s traveled along the way. You can also view photos and local info from places he’s visited as well as read status updates from his favorite stops. It’s not just for your computer, either–you can download the Santa Tracker app and view it on your smartphone or tablet, or use Google’s Chromecast app to display it on your TV for everyone to see. With so many ways to track Santa, you don’t have to miss a single stop along the way.
NORAD and Google only track Santa’s whereabouts in December, but TrackingSanta.net helps you stay up to date throughout the rest of the year too. Santa’s got a new sleigh this year, and you can read all about the upgrades and how the elves are doing everything they need to do to make sure it’s ready for Christmas Eve. It also partners with other websites like Jingle Kringle, which will send you daily text messages from the North Pole as well as location updates every few hours on the night before Christmas.
If you’re looking for fun games and activities to play with your child while you track Santa together, you’ll find plenty to choose from on this exciting website. It’ll liven up your Christmas Eve, and it even includes an embedded Santa tracker so you can do everything in one place.
If tracking Santa isn’t already a tradition in your household, then there’s no time like the present to make it one. It’s a great way to make the most wonderful holiday of the year even more magical. If you’ve tracked Santa before, or if you’ve decided to do it this holiday season, tell us about the experience in the comments.