Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 9:00 AM
Whether you know him as Père Noël, Weihnachtsmann, Babbo Natale, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus, there’s a chance you’re anticipating a visit from the jolly old man this December 24. Although he goes by many different names, the magic he brings to the holidays is felt by children and adults celebrating Christmas all over the world.
Growing up in Lawrence, Kansas, I have fond memories of racing to the tree Christmas morning to see what Santa left during his stop in my town. Sometimes it took a lot of work to stay on the right side of the “naughty or nice” list, but Santa came through for me every year.
Like most traditions, this one has evolved over time. Now, in addition to racing downstairs to their stockings, children can follow Santa online on his annual trip from the North Pole to their chimney. With NORAD Tracks Santa, children and families can watch Santa as he delivers presents all over the globe (with a little help from the North American Aerospace Defense Command). If you haven't yet followed this tradition in your family, we'd like to invite you to join us this Christmas Eve.
The countdown to track Santa begins today. Visit www.noradsanta.org the entire month of December to play holiday games and learn fun facts about NORAD and Santa. Set a reminder for 2 a.m. EST on December 24 to start tracking Santa in real-time on the website using Google Maps, and in 3D with Google Earth. If your phone is handy on Christmas Eve, you can also search for [santa] on Google Maps for mobile to track his journey on the go.
Wherever you are, we look forward to counting down to the holidays with you at www.noradsanta.org. Be sure to finish all your holiday shopping in time so you can join us for the main event on December 24.
In the meantime, to get into the Santa tracking spirit, follow NORAD Tracks Santa on Google+ and enjoy a few highlights from last year’s journey in this video: