Keep an eye on Santa with the NORAD Tracks Santa app

NORAD

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As Christmas day approaches, kids everywhere are gearing up for Santa to come visit with the presents they’ve been waiting for. Thanks to technology, they can also keep tabs on how close he is to their home. In honor of the holiday, this week’s app makes finding Santa a little bit easier — for both children and adults.

For some, the official NORAD Tracks Santa might be familiar — back when the internet browser was more impressive. The online version allows you to see exactly where Santa is on the map, in order to check if he’s near your area. But to accommodate our smartphone and tablet usage, there’s also an app available for both Android and iOS. Along with the tracker, there’s also more Christmas-themed content for children to enjoy.

The main page shows a countdown that lists how many hours, minutes, and seconds until the day of Christmas Eve. Once midnight hits, you’re able to watch as Santa flies across the globe in his sleigh with all the reindeer accounted for. Even though it allows you to access the tracker through the app, you’ll still be brought to a web browser in order to view it. Hopefully, a future update will integrate it into the app.

For those who haven’t experienced the tracker at all, it looks slightly similar to Google Maps. You can zoom in when he’s in a specific country, and see exactly what part of it he’s in in “real-time.” The top will provide you with where he was last seen, where he’s headed, and how many gifts he’s delivered so far. You can also tap on the camera icons from different parts of the world he’s visited to see what it looks like. On the bottom, there’s also a row of photos from places he’s visited that you can click on to learn more information.

For more activities, you can head back into the app and tap on the main menu in the right corner. By tapping on North Pole, you’re brought to different options to choose from — Library, Theatre, Arcade, Music, Gift Shop, and NORAD HQ. This is where kids can either read Christmas-themed books, play a fun arcade game, learn more about NORAD, or watch YouTube videos of Santa getting ready for the big day. The music section is still listed as “coming soon,” but hopefully there’ll be a huge library of tunes by next Christmas.

While there’s a ton of fun stuff to do on the app, the tracker still remains the best part. Not to mention, children wait all year for this day — they deserve where to know exactly where their beloved Santa is. I’ll also admit, it’s weirdly calming to watch him travel across the globe even as an adult. And yes, even I find myself checking back every once in a while to see where he’s headed to next — don’t worry, it’s totally normal.