Santa tracker 2022: how to use NORAD and Google to track Santa Clause live on Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve marks the day that Santa Claus and his trusty reindeer embark on their journey around the world

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With Christmas Day almost here, many of us may still be doing last minute festive preparations, like defrosting the turkey, buying presents and putting up decorations.

Also preparing for Christmas is the one and only Santa Claus, as he readies himself and his sleigh to take him around the world, delivering presents to children during the night.

There are a number of ways you can follow Santa live as he takes off on his epic journey - this is what you need to know.

How do I use the NORAD Santa tracker?

The NORAD Santa tracker is one of the most popular ways people track Santa as he makes his way delivering presents around the world.

NORAD, which stands for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, tracks Santa using something called the North Warning System, a powerful radar system with 47 installations across Canada’s North and Alaska.

NORAD has been tracking Santa since 1955, with the tradition happening purely by accident.

It explains: “24 hours a day, 365 days a year, NORAD tracks airplanes, missiles, space launches and anything else that files in or around the North American continent, while also completing some other very important missions.”

While NORAD tracks Santa, “only Santa knows his route”, which means that the organisation cannot predict what time he might arrive at a specific location.

Santa will only visit children when they’re sleeping (Photo: Shutterstock)Santa will only visit children when they’re sleeping (Photo: Shutterstock)
Santa will only visit children when they’re sleeping (Photo: Shutterstock)

However, it states that from its years of tracking, NORAD has found that in most countries, Santa arrives between 9pm and midnight on 24 December.

“If children are still awake when Santa arrives, he moves on to other houses,” NORAD says. “He returns later, but only when the children are asleep!”

You can access the NORAD tracker via its website, or you can download its app on either the Apple app store or the Google Play store.

As well as tracking Santa, the NORAD site also boasts games to play, Christmas songs to listen to and movies about Santa and NORAD to watch.

How do I use the Google Santa tracker?

Google also offers its very own Santa tracker to keep an eye on where Father Christmas is on his route around the world.

From Christmas Eve, Google’s Santa tracker will let you know where Santa is on his journey, how many presents he has delivered, how far he is from your home, and the weather conditions of his current location.

Google launched its Santa tracker in 2004, and since then has implemented a number of different features to keep kids entertained on Christmas Eve, including games, an animated story about Ollie the narwhal, short films, quizzes and more.

According to Google, Santa’s journey takes 25 hours, and he “makes his first stop just after 10pm local time in far eastern Russia, when it’s 5am in New York and 11am in Paris”.

There are lots of ways to follow Santa on his journey around the world (Photo: Shutterstock)There are lots of ways to follow Santa on his journey around the world (Photo: Shutterstock)
There are lots of ways to follow Santa on his journey around the world (Photo: Shutterstock)

If you have a device which supports Google Assistant, you can also tune into the North Pole Newcast which tells you all about what Santa and his elves are up to - simply ask Google Assistant what’s new at the North Pole.

Google Assistant can also call Santa - you’ll be connected to the North Pole where Santa is busy rehearsing for a musical concert, except he only knows one song. Can you help him figure out the best way to play it?

Or if it’s a laugh you’re in the mood for, ask Google Assistant for a Santa joke to hear his comedy routine.

You can find Google’s Santa tracker on its website, or by using the app available from the Google Play store.

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