Each Christmas Santa amazes children around the world with his magical ability to deliver exactly what they want without ever being caught in the act.
One of the fun things you can do with your kids on Christmas Eve is to keep track of where in the world the sleigh is, and just how he manages this incredible feat while they wait for their own presents to be silently placed under the Christmas tree.
Here are all the best websites to watch Santa’s progress this year. Some are also available as apps for Android and iPhone.
1. Google Santa Tracker
Google uses some of its vast knowledge to spread a little happiness at Christmas. Head to the Google Santa Tracker website there’s are a selection of different activities suitable for all ages available to play in the lead up to Christmas Eve.
When it’s the big day, you’ll see Santa’s location, a live blog of his journey, plus how far he is from you, and the number of gifts he has delivered.
According to the tracker, Santa’s journey lasts 25 hours. He makes his first stop just after 10 PM local time in far eastern Russia, when it’s 5 AM in New York and 11 AM in Paris.
The website works on PCs, phones and tablets, and there’s no need to install an app.
2. Track Santa with NORAD
To those of a certain age NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command) will conjure up images of a fresh faced Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy bringing the world to the edge of world war three just so they can play the latest video game. In the 1983 classic War Games, the final scenes of potential global disaster are played out in the mountain stronghold of NORAD, where generals track any nuclear missile attacks from aggressive nations (well, back then it was the Soviet Union).
NORAD has turned its considerable monitoring abilities to geo-locating St. Nick, who must reach some incredible, missile-like speeds while traversing the skies. That, or it sees him as a threat to national security.
These days, you can also install Norad’s tracker on Android and iPhone.
Go to the NORAD website.
Actually the NORAD Tracks Santa site is a glorious celebration of Father Christmas and just a fun place for kids (and adults) to waste a little time. While the primary function – on Christmas Eve – is to show the Santa express blaze its trail across the skies, you can click on the various buildings in the village on the homepage to hear songs, learn more about Santa – and NORAD.
The tradition of NORAD tracking Santa’s flight began back in 1955 when a misprint in an advertisement ended up with children calling NORAD (or rather its predecessor CONAD) by accident to ask where Santa was. Colonel Harry Shoup, showing a considerable good grace, had his staff check to see where the sleigh currently was, and another Christmas legend was born.
3. Santa Update
If you prefer a more journalistic approach to the sleigh preparations and social conditions in Santa’s toy workshop, then Santa Update is the place for you. This site covers the news that somehow gets missed by the wider media outlets, including radio interviews with well informed elves speculating about a strange, large building with no name in which Mr Christzmas is storing something mysterious.
Santa Update has also broken several stories regarding sleigh flight testing in Malaysia, speed trials through Russian airspace, and random sightings over Japan where St Nick is thought to be conducting reconnaissance missions. Any disgruntled elves out there that wish to blow the whistle on any Santa scandals can also send their reports directly to the site for publication.
The real highlight though is the live radio broadcast set to take place during the big night, which Santa insiders have revealed is being called ‘Operation Merry Christmas’ by big beard himself.
Part of Santa Update is Elf HQ, which handles messages to Santa and the elves online.
There are email addresses on the site for you to contact the main man himself, so hopefully you’ll get an idea of what he plans to come down your chimney with!