Since 1955, the folks at North American Aerospace Defense Command (or, as it’s better known, NORAD) have kept track of a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer. Coloradans were in on the tracking right from the early days with NORAD right in our backyard — Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs to be exact. In the 1950’s, curious souls had to telephone in to find out Santa’s flight path.
Hello, 2021! Now everyone can track Santa’s route (online or on their smartphone using a new mobile app) on Christmas Eve, as well as receive updates from the North Pole by checking out NORAD Tracks Santa.
Even before Santa’s big flight, children can visit the nifty website to explore a digital Santa’s Village at the North Pole, play online games, listen to music and watch movies.
Like Santa, the site can speak to children in many languages – English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Portuguese and Japanese.
Official NORAD Tracks Santa apps are also available in the Apple and Google Play stores, so parents and children can countdown the days until Santa’s launch on their smart phones and tablets. Tracking opportunities are also offered through social media on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.
Starting at 12:01 a.m. Mountain Time on December 24, website visitors can watch Santa make preparations for his flight. NORAD’s “Santa Cams” will stream videos on the website as Santa makes his way over various locations.
After 4 a.m., you can call a live phone operator to inquire as to Santa’s whereabouts. Operations Center staff will be answering the NORAD Tracks Santa toll-free number, 1-877-HI-NORAD (1-877-446-6723), on December 24 and can tell you Santa’s exact location. Operators are available until midnight.
Due to COVID concerns, the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center will have fewer phone operators, so callers who do not reach a volunteer will hear a regularly updated recording as to Santa’s current location.
Anytime on December 24, Amazon Alexa users can ask for Santa’s location through the NORAD Tracks Santa skill for Amazon Alexa, and OnStar subscribers can press the OnStar button in their vehicles to locate Santa. Santa Trackers can also use the Bing search engine to learn of Santa’s location.
Being investigative journalists, Laura & Bryan dug through top-secret documents to learn just how NORAD command center follows the jolly old man.
We can’t reveal all the details, but have learned a combination of radar, satellites, Santa Cams and fighter jets are used from the moment of take off, until return landing at the North Pole.
In fact, Rudolph’s glowing red nose gives off an infrared signal that can be detected by NORAD’s satellites.
If this doesn’t convince the kids that Santa is on his way, nothing will. And if you still need to find Santa for a personal visit before he heads out, check our See Santa page.
NORAD Tracks Santa Site