NORAD Tracks Santa Website Takes Flight Dec. 1


Photo courtesy of ksana 777,

Are your children asking questions about Santa’s whereabouts and what he’s doing? Each holiday season, The North American Aerospace Defense Command tracks Santa’s yuletide trip, allowing children around the world to gain insight into the jolly old elf’s activities.

The NORAD Tracks Santa website, which launches Dec. 1, is available in eight languages. The site features a countdown to Santa’s launch as well as fun activities and games for children in Santa’s North Pole Village.

Children can also join in the fun on a smartphone or tablet by using NORAD Tracks Santa apps available in the Windows, Apple and Google Play stores. Or you can opt to track Santa on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Google+ by typing “@noradsanta” into each site's search engine to get started.

Watch Santa prepare for his flight, starting at 2:01 a.m. EST on Dec. 24. NORAD’s “Santa Cams” will also be streaming videos on the website as Santa flies over various countries and such monuments as the Empire State Building and Eiffel Tower. Then, at 6 a.m. EST, trackers worldwide can speak with a live phone operator to find out Santa’s whereabouts by dialing the toll-free number 877-Hi-NORAD (877-446-6723) or by sending an email to Anytime on Dec. 24, Windows Phone users can ask Cortana for Santa’s location, and OnStar subscribers can press the OnStar button in their vehicles to locate Santa.

Why Does NORAD Track Santa?

You may be wondering how NORAD got into the business of tracking Santa; afterall, he poses no threat to security. Like many great inventions, Santa tracking began with a mistake, the story goes. According to NORAD, in 1955, a local media ad listed the wrong number for children to call Santa directly. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone rang through to the crew commander on duty at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center. When NORAD was created in 1958, it continued the yuletide tradition.

For parents, like me, the tradition offers a little break from little ones, whose boundless excitement over Santa's arrival can be channeled into online play while cookies are being baked in the kitchen.


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Karen Shore lives in Holly Springs. Besides writing for Carolina Parent, she works as a marketing director and hosts the Holly Springs Deep Dive Podcast. She will blog about family fun in the Triangle — including freebies and news that matters to local parents. Check back here Mondays and Thursdays for her weekday and weekend fun blog posts. 


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