Santa sees us when we’re sleeping and knows when we’re awake — and now the tables have turned! Follow his sleigh’s journey around the world this year with two awesome trackers. Here’s how!
Santa Claus is coming to town this Christmas, but when exactly? Lucky for us, there are not one, but two Santa trackers out there to help locate St. Nick as he and his reindeer deliver presents this year. Whether you want to visualize exactly where in the world he is or just find out how many presents he’s delivered — and how many miles he is from your hometown — Google’s tracker has got you covered. But if you want to see pictures of him in different cities, the North American Aerospace Defense Command uses their satellites to get a glimpse of Santa Claus every year. Here’s everything you need to know about the two 2018 trackers!
1. One was launched in 2004, while the other has been around since the Cold War. Got any guesses? The Google Santa Tracker has been around for 14 years, and was launched with the intent of upstaging the NORAD Tracks Santa service. That’s right! The brains behind the up-and-coming program thought there had to be a better way for children to really visualize where Santa was at all times. The NORAD tracker, on the other hand, was launched by mistake when a Sears ad printed Col. Harry Shoup’s personal phone number instead of the store’s. When kids started calling him asking for Santa, his airmen helped out.
2. The government shutdown will not affect the NORAD tracker. Don’t laugh — this was a real fear this year! After the government shutdown, NORAD issued a statement on Twitter to reassure fans of the iconic program that it wasn’t going anywhere. “In the event of a government shutdown, NORAD will continue with its 63-year tradition of NORAD Tracks Santa on Dec. 24,” the statement read. “Military personnel who conduct NORAD Tracks Santa are supported by approximately 1,500 volunteers who make the program possible each and every year.” Phew!
3. You never know who you’ll find on the other end of a NORAD tracker phone call. With 1,500 volunteers working in two-hour shifts, there are tons of people waiting to talk to kids and adults alike about Santa Claus’ location — and his favorite Christmas cookie. Michelle Obama, 54, once even tried her hand at the phone service.
4. Google’s tracker features fun extras. While you’re waiting for Santa to reach your neck of the woods, waste some time with Google’s festive Christmas games. From Elf Glider to Present Bounce, you can’t go wrong!
5. The trackers are easy to reach. To access the NORAD tracker, call 1-877-HI-NORAD or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For Google’s version of the tracking service, simply go to santatracker.google.com.