Newly revamped Santa trackers are now available, provided by NORAD and Google, making it much easier to follow the journey that Santa Claus will be embarking on this year, from the North Pole until he reaches your home.
NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command) has been keeping a close eye on Santa’s sleigh for the last 60 years, and on Tuesday, December 1, it has introduced a brand new website (www.noradsanta.org), especially designed for those who already feel the holiday frenzy.
The site, currently viewable in 8 different languages, plays Christmas carols in the background, and contains a Santa Tracker Countdown for now, given that the actual pursuit will begin on December 24, at 12:01 a.m. MST (2:01 a.m. EST).
Website visitors also have the possibility to explore Santa’s Village, divided into several sections, one of which is represented by the NORAD headquarters, detailing the organization’s mission, activities and fascinating history.
For instance, few readers might know that the hugely popular Santa Tracker actually started by accident, when a Sears ad printed in 1955 ahead of Christmas provided the wrong phone number for children to call Santa Claus.
At the other end of the line was actually Colonel Harry Shoup, from the Continental Air Defense Command. Instead of being annoyed at getting flooded with hundreds of phone calls from kids that night, he promptly answered them all, even sharing with his callers Santa’s exact “whereabouts”.
This is how the tradition was started, although in recent years it has been greatly improved thanks to modern satellite technology.
The giftshop offers personalized certificates marking the 60th anniversary of NORAD’s Santa Tracker, or apparel (t-shirts and sweatshirts) featuring NORAD’s logo.
Similarly, the arcade unlocks a new holiday-themed game, for every day of December, and there is even a digital coloring book, which can be accessed using Microsoft Edge.
The theater gives users the change to watch videos illustrating Santa’s one-night trip around the world, as well as NORAD’s mission of documenting that trip, for the last 6 decades.
Those wishing to change up the Christmas song playlist can access the Music Stage, in order to choose from a wide selection of carols suggested by NORAD.
There is also a library, for people seeking to get informed about Kris Kringle and his sleigh or about Christmas traditions across the globe. The section also includes a presentation of Operation Good Will, and plenty of online resources for those feeling completely devoid of inspiration this holiday season.
Once NORAD’s Santa Tracker is launched on December 24, it will begin broadcasting live videos giving website visitors a glimpse of Santa and his reindeer, as they embark on their Yuletide adventure.
Starting from 4 a.m. MST (6 a.m. EST), there will also be phone operators available for those wishing to call in order to ask when their home will be filled with presents from Saint Nick.
The toll-free number will be 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723), and those who prefer communicating via e-mail will be able to send their inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NORAD has even designed apps for tracking Santa, available for Android and iOS mobile devices, as well as for Windows 10 users.
Alternatively, updates regarding the magic sleigh’s journey will be broadcast through Cortana for Windows Phone users, through the OnStar service for subscribed drivers, or on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and YouTube.
Those eager to try Google’s tracker instead should access santatracker.google.com. The website has its own countdown until Christmas Eve, and even a game allowing visitors to create Santa Selfies after giving St. Nicholas a brand new look using hairdressing tools.
There are also informative materials about Christmas, cartoon videos featuring Santa, as well as a Code Lab for kids wanting to learn programming basics.
Moreover, Google is also encouraging visitors to donate money as part of the campaign titled #ForEveryKid, whose purpose is to create more inclusive schools, where children with disabilities can fulfill their potential.
Image Source: Flickr