Here's When Kids Can Start Tracking Santa On NORAD And Google This Year

by Julie Scagell
Originally Published: 

It’s almost time to begin tracking Santa’s route this year

If you have kids of a certain age, you know how painful it can be for them (and for parents) waiting for Santa Claus to arrive. The halls are decked, the milk and cookies are set out, and all there is to do is wait patiently for your little ones to go to bed for the tenth time so we can make the magic happen. Thanks to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and Google, kids can actually see the progress Santa and his reindeer are making around the world, so they can sleep knowing he’s on his way.

The NORAD Santa Tracker is one of the Department of Defense’s largest community outreach programs and has been going strong for over 60 years; and in 2004, Google launched its own tracker, so kids have a couple of ways to make sure jolly old Saint Nick is in route to their house.


On Christmas Eve, kids can start tracking Santa using NORAD’s technology beginning at 6 a.m. EST and watch his progress all day long until he finishes his long day at midnight at the international dateline. Canadian Army Major Andrew Hennessey of NORAD public affairs told Newsweek that though the organization’s most known for tracking Santa, they do dabble in, you know, defending the U.S. and Canada all year round. “Santa calls the shots; we just track him,” Hennessey said, noting the big man himself decided which route he’ll take every year.

There are a few ways kids can track Santa on Christmas Eve. They can call the toll-free number 1-877-HI-NORAD, send an email to, or follow along via the official NORAD Tracks Santa social media accounts. However they wish to do it, they can keep an eye on him all day long.

Volunteers operate the phone lines on Christmas Eve, working in two-hour shifts. “A lot of us grew up with this program when we were kids, and we can remember listening on the radio or calling in 30, 40 years ago, and being able to still be a part of it now on the other end is really enjoyable,” Hennessey said.


More recently, NORAD partnered with Amazon and OnStar so kids can just ask Amazon Alexa, “Alexa, where is Santa now?” or push the blue OnStar button on their vehicles and, voila, they get an answer.

If you have kids who simply can’t wait until 6 a.m., Google has them covered. Google’s Santa tracker kicks off when the clock strikes midnight on Christmas Eve. His first stop this year will be in far eastern Russia. Kids can track Santa on any device by visiting their webpage for the tracker or through the Santa Tracker mobile app available for Android devices.

We are a big fan of tracking Santa. It gives the kids the added anticipation of the big day and brings the magic of the holidays to life. They are only little once, so why not? Both pages have a countdown going already, so send the kids on and watch their faces light up.

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