The North Pole is a flurry of activity as Santa, the elves and his 8 tiny reindeer get ready for the annual trek around the world. And you can follow his sleigh on Christmas eve.

Track Santa's trip around the world with The Santa Tracker. NORAD has followed Santa as he leaves the North Pole to travel the globe on Christmas Eve for more than 50 years.

It all started in 1955 with a misprinted phone number for Sears. The newspaper ad gave the phone number for CONAD instead of the store's Santa line.

Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief's operations hotline" The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born.

NORAD replaced CONAD in 1958 and took over tracking Santa's flight.

How NORAD Tracks Santa

The North Warning System is a powerful radar that shows when Santa Claus leaves the North Pole every holiday season.

The moment our radar tells us that Santa has lifted off, we begin to use the same satellites that we use in providing air warning of possible missile launches aimed at North America.

Canadian fighter pilots welcome and escort Santa to North America.  American fighter pilots have the honor of flying with Santa and his famous reindeer - Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph.

What is Santa's Route

No one knows Santa's route each year but Santa. Historically, he visits the South Pacific first, then New Zealand and Australia. After that, he shoots up to Japan, over to Asia, across to Africa, then onto Western Europe, Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Central 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. We just track him.

NORAD cannot predict where and when Santa will arrive at your house. It's usually only after everyone is asleep.

How can Santa travel the world in 24 hours?

Santa doesn't experience time the same way we do. To us, Santa travels the globe in 24 hours but to him, it could last, days, weeks, or months. "Santa somehow functions within his own time-space continuum."

The NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center will begin at 5 AM (ETS) on December 24. You can call 1-877-HI-NORAD to talk to a NORAD staff member who can tell you Santa's exact location. Follow Santa on the tracking map below or at NORAD's official Santa Tracking website.

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