Santa Claus is coming to town this Christmas, but when exactly? Lucky for us, there are not one, but two trackers out there to help locate Santa and his reindeer as they deliver presents to the good boys and girls across the world. Whether you want to visualize exactly where he is (aka how many miles away from your hometown), or just find out how many presents he’s delivered, Google’s tracker has you covered. If you’d like to see pictures of him in different cities, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) uses their satellites to get a glimpse of the big guy every year. Here’s everything you need to know about the two 2019 trackers!
1. One was launched in 2004, while the other has been around since the Cold War. Got any guesses? The Google Santa Tracker started 14 years ago with the intent of upstaging the NORAD Tracks Santa service. 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 in 1955 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. 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.
3. Google’s tracker features fun extras. While you’re waiting for Santa to reach your neck of the woods, spend some time playing Google’s festive Christmas games. From Elf Jamband, to Wrap Battle, or Gumball Tilt, you can’t go wrong! Kiddos can also read Christmas stories about sweet narwhals, or even get Santa ready to take the ultimate selfie during a quick pitstop on the road.
4. The trackers are easy to reach. To access the NORAD tracker, call 1-877-HI-NORAD, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit it online HERE. For Google’s version of the tracking service, simply click HERE.
5. There are a few other ways to locate Santa throughout the day if those don’t work. NORAD partnered with Amazon and OnStar this year to make the tracking experience even easier! Just ask your Alexa where Santa is, or push the blue OnStar button in your car. And, you can call Santa himself with Google Assistant! All you have to say is, “Hey Google, call Santa” and you’ll be patched right through to the big guy himself!