NORAD Santa Tracker 2018: Follow Santa Claus on his Christmas Eve journey to deliver gifts
The most wonderful time of year is almost here – with just hours remaining until Christmas Day. During the holiday season millions of children count down the days of December and go to sleep on Christmas Eve, eagerly awaiting the delivery of their gifts from the beloved Santa Claus.
Before the arrival of December 25, children (and adults) can follow Father Christmas’ journey delivering gifts across the globe using the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and Google’s Santa trackers.
From the history behind NORAD’s festive role, to finding out what time you can expect an appearance down your chimney, here is everything you need to know about Santa’s route.
Santa’s journey across the globe – in numbers
Once Santa has made his list, checked it twice and finds out who has been naughty and nice, he sets off on his sleigh with his trusty reindeer, travelling an estimated 510,000,000 km on Christmas Eve – approximately 1,800 miles per second.
Christmas Eve is a busy time for Father Christmas as he needs to visit 390,000 homes per minute – or 6,424 per second.
From sherry, mulled wine and beer, to mince pies, gingerbread men and fruit cake, Santa won’t be short of energy during his journey, consuming a total of 71,764,000,000 calories.
With plenty of driving involved throughout the night, let’s hope children choose to leave him non-alcoholic beverages.
Santa’s travel route
Father Christmas’ journey begins in the South Pacific, with his first stop to the Republic of Kiribati, a collection of 32 atolls in the Pacific Ocean.
He will next travel west, delivering presents to those in New Zealand and Australia, followed by Japan.
Santa will then visit Asia, Africa and Western Europe, concluding with Canada, the US, Mexico and South America.
How to track Santa’s journey with NORAD and Google
Throughout the year, the US and Canadian organisation NORAD, monitors aerospace in event of nuclear attack, but on Christmas Eve they turn their attention to monitoring the skies for Santa’s sleigh.
Every year, the NORAD Tracks Santa website receives nearly nine million unique visitors from more than 200 countries and territories across the globe. On December 24, 1,500 volunteers respond to emails and receive more than 140,000 calls regarding Santa’s exact whereabouts.
The history behind NORAD’s role at Christmas
On a Christmas Eve shift back in 1955, Colonel Harry Shoup answered a call made to the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) in Colorado Springs, USA.
To his surprise, a young child had phoned the top secret line after finding a newspaper advert about ‘Santa’s Toyland’ from department store Sears, with the number of CONAD, NORAD’s predecessor, printed by mistake.
Colonel Shoup, dubbed “Santa Colonel”, later received multiple calls that night from other children, all looking for the whereabouts of Father Christmas.
He and his fellow call operators informed the children calling throughout the night of Santa’s exact location. The Santa tracking tradition, later continued by NORAD, was born.
NORAD has carried out it’s Christmas role for over 60 years and since 1997 children across the globe have been able to track Santa’s journey of delivering presents online.
More than 50 years after the night of calls from children, Colonel Shoup’s granddaughter Carrie Farrell, who worked for Google, announced their partnership with NORAD to track Santa in 2007 – although the companies have since parted ways, carrying out their roles separately.
Now, every year, thousands of volunteers staff telephones and computers to answer calls and e-mails from children (and adults) around the world. As of 2007, search engine Google has also provided an online tracker, in partnership with Norad.
Keep your fingers crossed that when he arrives at your house, he’ll find your name on the good side of that list…