Christmas is about to knock on our door and Santa Claus is all set to begin his journey around the world to spread holiday cheer through his mission of gift-giving.
Santa will be powering through the second pandemic Christmas but don’t worry because experts say he has “great innate immunity” to COVID-19. (He was once down with the flu in December 1918, according to the St. Paul Daily News but he eventually recovered.)
He has also been fully vaccinated and received his booster jab, so he will not be at risk of spreading the coronavirus when he visits millions of kids around the world to deliver their presents.
As he is finished making a list, which he checked twice, Santa, who has been cleared to fly over some countries and territories’ airspace, is set to begin his journey with his sleigh polished, sack of gifts secured and a flight crew of reindeer led by Rudolph all ready to go.
According to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), Santa’s journey always historically starts at the International Date Line in the Pacific Ocean and he travels westward.
He is known to visit the Pacific island of Kiribati first and the South Pacific islands, then New Zealand and Australia. From there, he visits Asia, Africa, Europe, Canada, the US, then onto Mexico and Central and South America before he heads back home to the North Pole (or to the Finnish Lapland, where many also believe he lives with Mrs. Claus).
Here’s how you can track jolly ol’ St. Nick’s whereabouts as he delivers presents and spread good cheer around the world.
Google Santa Tracker
Google puts up its colorful and interactive Santa’s Village during the holiday season every year since 2004.
On or before Christmas Eve, when one types “Where is Santa?” in the site’s search box, it will show Google’s Santa Tracker that says how long until he begins his journey or if he has already taken flight.
There is also an option to visit the site’s elaborate Christmas village filled with a host of features, including games, videos, stories and fun educational materials including coding basics and Christmas traditions around the world. Some of these features are available throughout the year.
Google’s Santa Tracker also gives information on how many presents Santa has delivered so far, the weather in his current location and how long until he reaches one’s location.
When Santa reaches a particular city, the first few paragraphs of a Wikipedia article about the city is shown to give an overview about it. The temperature of the city is also shown with data coming from The Weather Channel.
Tracking Santa is also integrated in Google Assistant for real-time updates. One may also download the Google Santa Tracker app on Google Play.
NORAD Santa Tracker
NORAD’s tradition of tracking Santa Claus started in 1955 by accident when a child accidentally dialed the phone number of the then Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) upon seeing a newspaper ad telling kids to call Santa.
Since then, NORAD, which is a combined organization of the US and Canada that protects the two countries’ airspace, gets on a very special mission every Dec. 24 of tracking Santa Claus using the same systems it uses every day: satellite systems, high-powered radar and jet fighters.
Hundreds of thousands of kids (and kids at heart) all over the world call and send e-mails to NORAD each year to ask for Santa’s whereabouts on Christmas Eve. In 2020, despite its reduced manpower, NORAD received 20,000 calls to locate Santa.
One may also track Santa’s journey via the NORADSanta.org site, which received over 11 million visitors from more than 200 countries and territories in 2020.
The site features an interactive Christmas Village that has a gift shop, holiday games, theater, library, and busy elves delivering mail, ice-skating, building a snowman, and more.
While waiting for Santa, one can listen to a playlist of his favorite holiday songs, some of which were performed by ensembles from the US Air Force like Rampart Winds and The NORAD Commanders.
Also hear Santa’s whereabouts through Amazon’s Alexa, which gets information from NORAD Tracks Santa. One may also follow @NoradSanta on Twitter, call 1877-4466723 on Christmas Eve, or download the NORAD Tracks Santa app from the Apple Store and Google Play to get more information about Santa's location.