It’s Christmas Eve, and Santa Claus and his reindeer have a busy night of delivering presents to children all over the world.
But when will Santa reach the United States, and when will he fly over your state or neighborhood? You can use several popular Santa trackers this year, including ones from the North American Aerospace Defense Command and Google, to keep up with Saint Nick’s journey as he travels from the North Pole.
If you want to estimate when exactly you should leave out milk and Christmas cookies, here’s what you need to know.
NORAD Tracks Santa
NORAD has been tracking Santa Claus every year since 1958. But NORAD’s predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command started tracking him in 1955.
The organization says it uses radar, satellites and jet fighters to follow Santa’s route. Though they don’t know exactly when Santa will arrive at your home, he starts at the International Date Line in the Pacific Ocean and travels west, going to the South Pacific, then to Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe and North and South America.
“NORAD coordinates with Santa’s Elf Launch Staff to confirm his launch time, but from that point on, Santa calls the shots,” NORAD confirms on its website.
“Santa would not want to rush the important job of delivering presents to children and spreading joy to everyone, so the only logical conclusion is that Santa somehow functions within his own time-space continuum,” they add.
The NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center will be “fully operational” at 4 a.m. MST on Christmas Eve, with approximately 750 Canadian and American military personnel and civilians volunteering to spread Santa’s cheer. You can visit their website to keep up with Santa, or you can call a volunteer at Peterson Space Force Base in Colorado.
Google Santa Tracker
Google is also tracing Santa’s travels this year, releasing a “tracking experience where you can follow Santa and his reindeer as they deliver presents to kids around the world,” according to its website.
You can also use Google Assistant to learn more about Santa Claus and ask for updates from the North Pole. The Google Assistant can also tell Santa jokes, along with other features.
Google has tracked Santa’s journey on Christmas Eve since 2004, and they’ve calculated that his journey lasts 25 hours.
NORAD had some technical issues with the tracker early this morning, but those problems have been resolved. “Thank you for your patience! We are up and running! (Santa has been up for hours.) Santa is now over the Solomon Islands,” NORAD wrote on its Facebook page at 7:30 a.m. ET. If the tracker goes down again, you can still get updates on his progress at 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723).