NORAD’s Santa Tracker, the beloved, decades-old tradition of following Santa Claus as he delivers gifts to children around the world, returns Christmas Eve for its 68th year.
NORAD starts tracking Santa’s movements every year around 4 a.m. EST on Christmas Eve through its website and app. Starting at 6 a.m. EST, operators stand by for children to call and hear the latest on Santa’s whereabouts. You can call toll free at 1-877-HI-NORAD (1-877-446-6723).
Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s NORAD Santa Tracker.
How to track Santa on LiveNow from FOX
LiveNow from FOX will host a three-hour special, "Track Santa Now," beginning at 9 p.m. EST on Christmas Eve.
The special will feature interviews with NORAD officials, live call-ins with Santa Claus and, of course, a live look at where Santa Claus and his reindeer are in their mission to deliver Christmas cheer.
You can watch it live in the video player above.
When will Santa arrive at your house?
Portrait of Santa Claus (Photo by Tom Kelley/Getty Images)
NORAD tracks where Santa is, but only Mr. Claus knows his route. NORAD can’t predict when Santa will arrive at your house, and remember, he’ll only stop at houses where children are asleep!
In most countries, Santa arrives between 9 p.m. and midnight on Christmas Eve, but if children are still awake, he’ll move on to other homes and return when children are asleep.
What is NORAD?
A small group of media were allowed inside Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station as NORAD celebrates its 60th Anniversary on May 10, 2018 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is a United States and Canada bi-national organization that conducts aerospace warning, aerospace control and maritime warning for North America. According to its website, NORAD works to prevent air attacks against North America and responds to unknown, unwanted, and unauthorized air activity.
NORAD monitors all traffic in North American airspace 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. On Christmas Eve, it has the added mission of tracking Santa Claus.
History of the NORAD Santa tracker
NORAD Santa Tracker website screen shot (credit: NORAD)
NORAD started tracking Santa’s whereabouts in 1955 when a young child tried to call Santa after seeing a misprinted department store ad from a local newspaper.
"Instead of calling Santa, the child called the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colo." NORAD said on its website. "Air Force Col. Harry Shoup, the commander on duty that night who answered the child’s phone call, was quick to realize a mistake had been made and assured the child he was Santa."
An influx of children called the agency in search of Santa, so they assigned a duty officer to answer the calls. The tradition continued when CONAD became NORAD in 1958.
What else can you do on the NORAD Tracks Santa website?
NORAD tracks Santa in 2014. (NORAD)
The NORAD Tracks Santa website features Santa’s North Pole Village, which includes a holiday countdown, games, movie theater, holiday music, web store and more.
The website is available in nine languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Chinese and new this year, Korean.
If you’d rather track Santa on your mobile device, the official NORAD Tracks Santa app is in the Apple App and Google Play stores.
NORAD Tracks Santa is also available on other digital media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and X, and on contributor platforms, Amazon Alexa, Bing, SiriusXM and OnStar.