Santa Claus is coming to town. And thanks to NORAD, children and adults can keep up to date on old St. Nick’s joyful movements as he circles the globe.
Born from a child’s accidental call in 1958, NORAD’s Santa Claus Tracker will continue this year, even as America continues to deal with the pandemic. Modifications have been made to accommodate social distance, including reducing the number of people answering calls – so it is possible that callers will receive an automatic message with Santa’s whereabouts when they call NORAD.
However, there are many other ways for people to find out where Santa is at any time. One option that people have is to visit the NORAD website, where people can monitor Santa’s previous whereabouts and his next destination. The same tracking service is also available through a mobile app on Google Play and the Apple App Store.
For Santa to jump through the chimney, children must be asleep. In most countries, it arrives between 9 pm and midnight on Christmas Eve. While NORAD tracks Santa Claus and ensures that he has a safe arrival at each destination, it is Santa Claus who decides his route.
Delivering gifts around the world in one night is not an easy task and requires a lot of planning to ensure that St. Nick has enough time to complete the job. Historically, it starts on the International Date Line and runs west. In the past, he traveled to the South Pacific, New Zealand and Australia before delivering gifts to countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, Canada, the United States, Mexico and Central and South America.
As of 4 pm Eastern time, Santa Claus is in Gabon, a country on the west coast of Central Africa. After finishing delivering gifts to Gabon, he will continue to work on the African continent before heading to his next destination. At the time, he had already delivered 3.3 million gifts.
This year, Santa Claus also made a special stop at the International Space Station (ISS) in honor of the 20th anniversary of the crews who live there. On Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released Santa’s sleigh for launches and landings in space and a flight to the space station.
Santa Claus had a space suit helmet for his journey, but Space.com noted that it may have been an extra precaution because his magic makes it unnecessary for him and his reindeer. Luckily for those at the station, the nose of the famous reindeer Rudolph illuminated the depths of the space, giving crew members a special Christmas gift.
While the children wait for the nightfall and the arrival of Santa Claus, they can watch different videos of his arrival in various parts of the world on the NORAD website.