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Here’s how to track Santa during his busiest night of the year

NORAD Tracks Santa 2018

Santa is making final preparations for his annual trip to homes around the world, dropping off gifts galore and enjoying the occasional mince pie and glass of sherry as he goes.

Kids everywhere will be keen to track Santa’s progress as he embarks on his global journey, which starts in New Zealand and Australia before heading west across Asia, the Middle East and Africa, Europe, the Americas, and, finally, to Hawaii and other Pacific islands.

The trackers

As in recent years, there are two popular options for following Santa on his journey. First up, there’s Google’s Santa Tracker, available via the web or an Android app. Traveling on a sleigh that Google describes as “arguably the fastest airborne vehicle in the world,” Google’s website and app make use of the company’s mapping technology to accurately track the whereabouts of the bearded one, with the Street View imagery giving you the chance to explore in detail all of the cities that he visits.

Google’s Santa Tracker has been offering lots of online games and other activities since early December, and promises some brand-new games for December 24.

The other way to track Santa is via the North American Aerospace Defense Command, better known as NORAD.

The organization is usually looking out for suspicious activity in the skies over North America, but on December 24 turns its attention to helping kids keep tabs on Santa.

NORAD started tracking Santa in 1955 after a Colorado Springs newspaper misprinted a “hotline” phone number in an ad inviting kids to call to speak to the man himself.

The misprinted number belonged to NORAD’s predecessor, the Continental Aerospace Defense Command. Not surprisingly, calls flooded in, but instead of breaking the hearts of lots of littl’uns with the words, “Sorry, wrong number,” those taking the calls decided to play along by giving updates on Santa’s location as he delivered presents around the world. And so a tradition was born.

In 2017, NORAD’s Santa tracker attracted 18 million website hits, 1.8 million followers on Facebook and 179,000 on Twitter, as well as 126,000 phone calls.

NORAD’s offering can be enjoyed via its website, with updates also provided on its Facebook and Twitter accounts. Just like Google’s Santa tracker, NORAD’s also includes plenty of extras such as games, movies, and festive music. Enjoy!

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