Santa’s dusted off his red suit, given his beard a trim, and jumped aboard his sleigh for another year of selfless gift-giving.
Thanks to the wonders of the internet and satellite technology, it’s long been possible to track Santa’s real-time location as he makes his way around the world, sliding up and down chimneys, dropping off presents, and consuming copious quantities of milk, along with an eye-popping number of cookies.
Google’s Santa Tracker is a perennial favorite among those keen to follow Santa’s progress on December 24. At the time of writing, Santa is tootling around Europe, a continent where all of the children are currently sound asleep (though possibly with one eye open as they try to catch a glimpse of Santa’s fleeting visit).
Google’s Santa Tracker is available on the web and lets you see Santa’s route history on a world map, as well as the next stop on his list. It also provides links to background information on upcoming stops, enabling you to learn more about the world’s cities in just a few clicks. Google’s tracker also offers some stats on the distance traveled so far, and a real-time count on how many gifts he’s delivered.
Another popular tracker comes from the North American Aerospace Defense Command, better known as NORAD.
NORAD is a binational U.S. and Canadian operation that monitors the region’s airspace for incursions by unwelcome visitors (don’t worry, Santa is very much on the “OK” list).
Did you know that NORAD’s Santa tracker was born out of a mistake made by a Colorado Springs newspaper on Christmas Eve in 1955? A hotline phone number that gave kids the opportunity to call Santa was misprinted by the newspaper, showing instead the number for NORAD’s predecessor, the Continental Aerospace Defense Command.
Suddenly finding itself on the receiving end of a deluge of calls from excited children expecting to speak to Santa, the operators taking the calls were good enough to play along, enthusiastically giving updates on Santa’s location throughout Christmas Eve.
The misprint led to an annual tradition, with the arrival of the internet opening up new possibilities for the service.
And it’s still possible to call 1-877-HI-NORAD on Christmas Eve for an update on Santa’s whereabouts.
If you fancy settling down for a Christmas movie after tracking Santa, Digital Trends has some great ideas for what to watch.
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