Santa Claus and his reindeer have taken off from the North Pole to bring holiday cheer and presents to children across the world. As millions of households await his arrival, hoping to catch a glimpse of Santa and his crew, children can have a heads-up on when the jolly man is heading toward them.
To see where Santa and his reindeer are at any given moment on Christmas Eve, children (and adults — of course) can go to the North American Aerospace Defense Command’s (NORAD) tracking system.
NORAD’s tracking system features a 3D map showing where Santa was last seen and where he’s heading next, along with how many gifts he’s delivered so far. As of 2:15 p.m. EST, Santa delivered more than 2.8 million gifts to households across Australia, Asia and Europe.
People can also call into the command center at 1-877-HI-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) to track Santa’s movements from 6 a.m. to midnight MST on Dec. 24. Last holiday season, NORAD said it received an estimated 78,000 calls into its center.
This year marks the 68th year that NORAD has tracked Santa’s trip around the globe. The tradition began in 1955 when a child called a misprinted phone number from a newspaper advertisement that rang to the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center in Colorado Spring, Colo., NORAD said.
The center’s director assured the young caller he was Santa Claus, beginning the decades-long tradition for NORAD, which normally tracks everything that flies in and around Canada and the U.S. for the country’s homeland defense.
That mission is extended to Santa Claus on Dec. 24, and last year, it involved about 1,100 volunteers to make the magic happen.
The tracking website also has a “Santa’s North Pole Village” interactive feature, which includes a holiday countdown, games, holiday music, a web store and more.
NORAD’s tracking website is offered in nine languages, while calls can also be answered in different languages. Users can also access the tracking system through the NORAD Tracks Santa app — available in the Apple App and Google Play stores — and through social media, OnStar, Amazon Alexa, Bing and Sirius XM, according to NORAD.
The tracking website can see Santa’s flight from 4 a.m. to midnight MST on Dec. 24.
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