The countdown clock is ticking at the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) as it prepares for its annual tradition of tracking Santa Claus as he makes his way around the globe.
NORAD uses some high-tech systems to track Santa’s sleigh — radar, satellites, Santa Cams and fighter jets — and has teamed up again this year with Google, which will be tracking Santa in real time starting at 2 a.m., Eastern on Dec. 24. Google Maps will have all the necessary flight information, or you can tune in to a 3D feed via Google Earth. Parents with eager kids can plot out the exact right time to chill the milk and cool the cookies by using the Google Maps mobile site as well, by searching for “[santa]” on their smartphones.
You can also call NORAD for the latest news of Santa’s flight. The NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center will be open from 6 a.m. Eastern on Dec. 24 to 5 a.m. Eastern on Dec. 25. Call 877-HI-NORAD (877-446-6723) toll-free or try 719-556-5211 from Colorado Springs or overseas. Last year, first lady Michelle Obama answered calls from kids wanting to know Santa’s position, so you never know who will pick up when you call the hotline.