Website charts Santa's journey around the globe

December 24, 2016
A man wearing a Santa Claus costume walks atop Jerusalem's Old City walls on December 23, 2016

An online Santa tracker run by a Canadian and American defense agency mapped the jolly old gift-giver's path around the globe Saturday, in what has become a Yuletide tradition.

Every Christmas Eve since 1955, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has been tracking Saint Nicholas's annual voyage to deliver presents to good little boys and girls around the world.

A 3-D, interactive website at shows places Santa has passed through, allowing site users to click to learn more about different locations.

The website is available in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Chinese.

It shows Santa, wearing his traditional red cap and suit trimmed with white fur, steering a red sleigh over the Earth below, which has been labeled to show what country he is flying over at any given time.

A counter keeps a running tally of gifts delivered by Saint Nick so far—nearly 1.4 billion by 1530 GMT as Santa approached Geraldton, Australia, the NORAD website showed.

Santa's progress—as well as the activities of NORAD volunteers—could also be charted at the Twitter handle @NoradSanta.

"Our volunteers are having a great time and staying busy with as many as 140,000 phone calls today!" read one tweet, accompanied by a photo of dozens of people, some wearing red Santa hats, taking calls.

After leaving the North Pole early Saturday, Santa had early stops in Russia, China and Japan before heading at mind-boggling speed south toward the Philippines, Guam, Australia and then heading east toward Asia and Europe before stops later Saturday in North America.

NORAD's Santa tracking tradition dates back to 1955, when a Colorado newspaper advertisement printed a phone number to connect children with the cheerful Christmas icon that mistakenly directed them to NORAD's hotline.

To avoid disappointing the little ones, NORAD's director of operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, ordered his staff to check the radar to see where Santa might be and update the children on his location.

When not spreading holiday cheer, the North American Aerospace Defense Command conducts aerospace and maritime control and warning operations.

Explore further: Follow Santa Claus, courtesy Google and NORAD

Related Stories

Follow Santa Claus, courtesy Google and NORAD

December 24, 2009

Santa Claus is coming to your town -- and NORAD is tracking him as he drops off presents around the world. The North American Aerospace Defense Command, which monitors the North American airspace, on Thursday set up an official ...

Microsoft, NORAD track Santa and Google watches him too

December 3, 2014

Father Christmas, aka Saint Nick, aka Santa Claus: enough children in the world are aware of this gift-giving holiday character to motivate vendors and manufacturers to think up ways to leverage happy anticipation, as the ...

Recommended for you

EPA adviser is promoting harmful ideas, scientists say

March 22, 2019

The Trump administration's reliance on industry-funded environmental specialists is again coming under fire, this time by researchers who say that Louis Anthony "Tony" Cox Jr., who leads a key Environmental Protection Agency ...

Coffee-based colloids for direct solar absorption

March 22, 2019

Solar energy is one of the most promising resources to help reduce fossil fuel consumption and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to power a sustainable future. Devices presently in use to convert solar energy into thermal ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Dec 24, 2016
Umm..., no. The red cap and suit trimmed with white fur is NOT traditional. It's a coca-cola advertisement since 19th century.

As a saint, Santa Claus comes from Kaissareia, in Asia Minor, where he used to be a bishop. That was before the ISIS of the time took over Asia Minor. He is dressed traditionally, as a priest.
1 / 5 (2) Dec 24, 2016
Don't these Santa Tackers seem like a waste of time and energy? Suppose kids watch for Santa to come past their town. When he does, presents should appear, shouldn't they? Of course they won't so what's the point? Maybe the right way to do one of these things is to geolocate based on IP and make sure to never show Santa near the IP's location.
not rated yet Dec 25, 2016
There is a more nefarious mechanism at work here... the official sanction of superstition. In the future there will be no superstition of any sort.


"man wearing a Santa Claus costume walks atop Jerusalem's Old City walls on December 23, 2016"

-That's not Santa. Santa is fat.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.