Get ready, kids, these Santa trackers are about to fire up!

With presents packed, beard trimmed, and vaccination (presumably) administered, the big fella in the red costume is as ready as he’ll ever be to make dreams come true for millions of children around the world.

That’s right — Santa is about to embark on his busiest delivery run of the year (correction … his only delivery run of the year), squeezing down chimneys, scoffing cookies, and swigging milk as he goes. And you can follow his every move online.

Popular Santa trackers from Google and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, better known as NORAD, are about to go live with tons of mapping content to help build the excitement before bedtime (not sure if that’s a good thing, actually).

If Google’s tracker is anything like previous versions, you’ll be able to zoom right down to street level to see Santa’s current location via Street View. In the meantime, check out Google’s special website for lots of festive fun and games.

NORAD’s site also includes entertainment and educational features, though not quite as many as Google’s offering. The tracker, however, is just as accurate and will let you know exactly how far Santa has to travel before reaching your neighborhood.

In case you didn’t know, NORAD is a binational U.S. and Canadian military command responsible for monitoring local airspace for uninvited visitors.

So how, you might ask, did it get involved in the Santa-tracking business? Well, it all started thanks to an error made by a Colorado Springs newspaper on Christmas Eve way back in 1955.

A hotline phone number offering kids the opportunity to speak with Santa was misprinted by the newspaper, showing instead the number for NORAD’s predecessor, the Continental Aerospace Defense Command.

Of course, it was bombarded with calls from excited kids desperate to speak to Santa. Fortunately, the operators who were on duty were good enough to play along and happily offered updates on Santa’s location late into the evening.

The error led to an annual tradition, with the arrival of the internet enabling NORAD to incorporate lots of new features.

Happy holidays to one and all!

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