Santa tracker: Follow along as NORAD monitors Santa’s worldwide excursion

NORAD is charged with warning and controlling aerospace over North America and is headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The agency tasked with protecting the airspace over Canada and the United States will once again be tracking someone who is big and red and who is usually accompanied by eight tiny reindeer.

The North America Aerospace Defense Command, which monitors and defends the airspace from its Colorado base, will be using the latest technology to track jolly old St. Nicholas as part of its annual tradition that began 67 years ago.

NORAD starts notifications on Santa’s movements every year around 4 a.m. EST on Christmas Eve through its website and app, and later in the day, will have operators standing by for the young at heart.

Inquiring minds worldwide can call the toll-free number 1-877-HI-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) to hear the latest on Santa’s status.


Neither Canada nor the United States will be the first countries to welcome in Christmas Day. In fact, even though the North American countries will have plenty of children nestled all snug in their beds while visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads, Kiribati in the central Pacific Ocean will be the first to see Santa’s big day.

Kiritimati is about 1,250 miles southwest of Hawaii and is one of the first inhabited islands west of the International Date Line. The imaginary line runs north to south, mostly along 180 degrees longitude, and serves as a demarcation mark for the start and end of the 24-hour day.

NORAD says Amazon users can also monitor jolly old St. Nick’s route on Christmas Eve by asking Alexa where Santa’s location is. It’s suggested that Alexa users download the free NORAD Tracks Santa skill before attempting to track St. Nick and his eight reindeer.


The long-running tradition of NORAD’s Santa tracker is believed to have originated as a misprint over six decades ago.

NORAD Commander Gen. Glen Vanherk said an incorrect phone number printed in a department store advertisement in 1955 resulted in phone calls from the public to the Continental Air Defense Command Headquarters, with wondering minds seeking the location of old St. Nick.

"Real quickly, the commander on duty realized it was a young child looking for Santa Claus. He realized he needed to keep answering those calls, and history was born," said Vanherk.

While you are in the app store, don’t forget to download the FOX Weather app to find out the forecast for Santa’s North Pole and weather where you live.