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Santa Tracker live: how to follow Santa with Norad or Google

Tracking Santa hour-by-hour as he crosses the globe giving presents

Santa Tracker hero image

(Image credit: Google)

Happy (almost) Christmas! As we close out another year, it’s time for one of our favorite seasonal activities - the TechRadar Santa tracker! Using the two most popular trackers, NORAD and Google, we’ll be bringing you live updates as St Nick makes his way around the globe.

Santa tracking is now a well-loved tradition, but it all started by accident nearly 70 years ago. As legend would have it, a Sears catalog accidentally printed the Colorado Springs' Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Center’s phone number instead of a Santa hotline in Christmas 1955, and began to receive calls from children hoping to speak to Klaus himself.

Seeing an opportunity for a little festive fun, CONAD began publishing press releases on Santa’s whereabouts every year. The tradition caught on, and CONAD handed over the reins to NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command) after its formation in 1958. 

While NORAD’s Santa tracker has historically been the go-to resource for following Santa’s whereabouts, there are now a plethora of ways families and big kids alike can scout for Kris Kringle.

The best of them is made by Google, which released its own Santa Tracker in 2004. It offers a very different experience to NORAD, but is still just as fun.

Santa Tracker: Norad vs Google

You've got two main choices when it comes to tracking Santa - both offer different ways of following jolly ol' St Nick, but it depends on the experience you're looking for.

Norad Santa Tracker

Norad Santa tracker

(Image credit: Future)

The original way of following Santa and, some would say, the best. This website, run by the US military, fuses gruff colonels presenting a video about Santa Claus with live, up-to-the-minute info on where the man in the big red suit is.

You can download the app on the App Store or Google Play Store, and from there you'll be presented with a number of mini games to play as well as being able to follow the progress of the present giving live.

It's a far more rudimentary experience than other trackers out there, lacking a lot of polish and website design.

However, it's also the most popular and has the heart-warming history behind it - as well as an army of volunteers ready to take your call to find out where Santa is.

NORAD has also added in an AI chatbot called Radar to help you spot Santa too, if you can't be bothered with all that talking, which is a bit lovely. But if you can be bothered, then dialling +1 (877) HI-NORAD will do the trick too.

Google Santa Tracker

How to play the Santa games on mobile

SAnta tracker

(Image credit: Google)

Every year, when we publish this guide, we have people wondering how to play the games on mobile as the big 'PLAY!' button in the middle of the screen sometimes fails and will only ever give you random games or video anyway. Well, just go to the Santa Tracker site on a mobile browser, click the three lines in the top left-hand corner and see all the games to play. (Note - the 'install' option, which tells you to 'Add to Home Screen', doesn't work on iPhones).

A more recent addition to the Santa tracking mix, Google's Santa Tracker has been going since 2004, combining the power of Google Maps with the savvy knowledge of where Father Christmas is.

While Google doesn't have the same satellite tracking power of NORAD, one has to assume the search giant has struck a deal with the North Pole to figure out where he is in real time using search and radar and lazers and... stuff. Don't ask us to interpret the magic.

Backing up the Santa Tracker are a whole host of minigames to play, as well as a month-long website encouraging children to learn to code while they encounter a winter wonderland.

There are some pro-Google tools moments in this Santa Tracker - the Quick Draw game is designed to teach Google's image recognition Tensor to improve, which feels a bit odd - but it's a wonderfully-designed site and arguably the most visually accessible way to follow Santa.

You can download the app from the Google Play Store, but in our eyes the mobile site is just as good and accessible for iPhone users, plus Google's Santa Tracker has the best and easiest-to-use desktop experience, too.


Welcome, everyone, to this year’s Santa Tracker! 

We’ve got a couple of hours until Santa takes off, so there’s plenty of time to set up a special treat for him. Here in the UK, we leave carrots for the reindeer, and Santa often gets a mince pie and some kind of alcoholic tipple such as sherry or brandy, but there are different traditions all over the world. 

In Australia, he gets cold beer to beat the heat, families in Denmark leave out a bowl of rice pudding with cinnamon (called Risengrod) for the elves, people in the US leaves milk and cookies, and in Argentina the reindeer are catered for, with hay and water.

Google's Santa tracker homepage

(Image credit: Google)

You might wonder how we know exactly when Santa will take off and start his happiness-bringing journey around the world, but it's simple - Google and Norad both have countdowns.

The only problem is that they don't seem to agree about when he'll start his trip. NORAD says he'll be aloft in 7hrs 48 minutes at the time of writing (9am GMT) but Google says it's 8hrs 48 minutes. We'll report back in around 8-9hrs as to which of the two was right!

A still from the intro video to Google's 2022 Santa tracker showing Santa and two penguins

(Image credit: Google)

Google's Santa Tracker site really is a wonderful thing, and I particularly love the little video that plays at the start. It's enough to get even the hardest-hearted Grinch into the festive spirit. But, if anyone from Google is reading this, I do have a slight issue with it - and it concerns penguins. 

Look, we all know Santa lives at the North Pole. But we also know that penguins are southern-hemisphere creatures. They don't live in the North Pole. Then again, maybe Santa has flown them out there to help him prepare for Christmas - they do seem quite good at getting him ready for his flight, after all.

Google Home Hub

(Image credit: Google)

Can't be bothered calling or using the internet with your fingers?

You can use Google Assistant to communicate directly with the patron of presents (either using Google Assistant baked into your Android phone, the Google app on iPhone in some regions or a Google-enabled smart speaker), allowing anyone to say 'Hey Google, what's new at the North Pole' and hear the latest news updates from Santa's world.

Santa in New Zealand on the Google Santa Tracker

(Image credit: Google)

So, what can you expect to see once Santa takes off? Well, Google uses its Maps technology to plot the bearded one's progress, as well as providing a helpful tally of how many gifts he's delivered so far and some useful information about the local area.

NORAD, meanwhile, has the advantage of having actual satellite images of Santa on his sleigh, rather than just a cartoon. Our suggestion: follow both and get double the fun.

Santa on the NORAD Santa tracker

(Image credit: NORAD)

Right. I'm taking a break for a bit - I've got my own presents to wrap. Back in a few hours to see how Santa's preparations are going.

Google's Christmas games

(Image credit: Google)

While we're patiently waiting for Santa's reindeers to hoist him into the air, there are a ton of ways to pass the time on both the Google Santa Tracker and the NORAD Santa Tracker.

Head to the Google site and you can play a variety of games: from bouncing presents into their targets to taking down elves with snowballs. Just click the menu button in the top left to see the games gallery.

Over on the NORAD site we've got holiday songs, Santa facts, and games involving penguins, candy canes and plenty more – each house on the main page has something behind it.

In fact, there's enough here to keep you entertained all through Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so it might be worth bookmarking these pages for later.

According to NORAD, Santa will be on his merry way in less than an hour.

Google uses this Santa Tracker as a way of learning more about its systems and tools, letting its developers play with computer and mobile interactions in new ways.

According to a blog post, they don't always work though...

" One engineer who focused on AI and human movement came up with this idea for a game where you could enable tracking on your computer and teach the elves to dance,” said Dave Holmes of Google, “and they would mimic your movement.” But just before launch…they found a glitch. “If the tracker lost you for a second…the elves' heads and arms would go flying off!”

NORAD's santa-tracking chatbot, RADAR, responding to a question about when Santa takes off

(Image credit: NORAD)

I thought it might be fun to try out Radar, NORAD's chatbot, to see how it was getting on before Santa Claus takes off.

It's not the most advanced artificial intelligence right now - it's certainly no ChatGPT - but it didn't tell me something I didn't know before, which is that Santa's sleigh travels at the speed of starlight. As everyone knows, that's fast - really fast. Don't tire out those reindeer, Santa!

ChatGPT explaining how fast Santa travels and how

(Image credit: ChatGPT)

That gave me an idea, actually, so I asked the real ChatGPT about Santa. It said:

"Santa is a very special man who brings presents to good boys and girls on Christmas Eve. He travels all around the world, visiting every house and giving gifts to all the children. Santa is able to travel very, very fast, so he can visit every house in just one night! Some people think that he has a magical sleigh that flies through the air, and others think that he uses advanced technology to move quickly from place to place. No matter how he does it, Santa always manages to bring joy and happiness to children on Christmas morning. So, Santa is able to travel very fast to be able to deliver presents to all the good children in the world in just one night."

Sounds about right to me!

Right, we're just 1 minute anyway from NORAD's Santa Tracker starting. Let's see what happens!

Santa prepares to take off on the NORAD santa tracker website

(Image credit: NORAD)

And we have good news! The NORAD tracking site has confirmed: "Current conditions at the North Pole indicate good weather for flying."

That's what we like to hear.

Santa Claus The Movie

(Image credit: TriStar Pictures)

Whenever there's a lull in conversation at this time of year, you can always start a debate about what the best Christmas movie is – or even a debate about what it is that makes a movie a Christmas movie. Does it have to be set over the holidays? Is snow compulsory? Does Santa need to make an appearance?

You can check out our rundown of the best Christmas movies and see if you agree with our choices. There are some classics in there and some that are perhaps a little less well-known, though your personal favorite might not be included. In this live blogger's personal opinion, there's something special about 1985's Santa Claus The Movie (pictured above) – though you won't find it on many lists.

We haven't forgotten about Santa by the way – he's due to set off at the top of the hour. We can only imagine the sort of bedlam happening around his sleigh at the moment, a sleigh which is reportedly going to be packed with 60,000 tons of presents.

Google Santa tracker live

(Image credit: Google Santa Tracker)

Folks we're t-minus 10 minutes from the big take-off – over on the Google Santa Tracker the map view is now live, and the man of the moment is preparing to leave the North Pole.

Meanwhile the NORAD Santa Tracker is still showing a picture of Father Christmas packing up presents. He's cutting it mighty fine here, but we assume after all these years he knows what he's doing.

Google Santa tracker live

(Image credit: Google Santa Tracker)

And he's off (at least on the Google tracker)! We can confirm that Santa is now heading over the Arctic Ocean and has already delivered nearly 4,000 presents. St Nicholas is good at this, right?

It's now Christmas Day somewhere... did you know the earliest time zone on planet Earth is UTC+14:00? And it didn't even officially exist until 1994. The islands of Kiribati have now ticked over to Christmas Day, though with a population of under 120,000 Santa doesn't have too many presents to deliver.

As yet NORAD hasn't updated its 2D or 3D maps – but we're watching closely for the next update.

With Santa already hard at work we're still waiting for the NORAD Santa Tracker to get a lock on his location – but we expect the big man has his most excitable elf currently working on the issue, and for now, you can stick with using the Google Santa Tracker.

Managing these trackers isn't easy, considering how fast Santa is flying around the world – his sleigh apparently has to travel 650 miles per second (that's 3,000 times the speed of sound!) in order to deliver every present on time. We're hoping the reindeer get Christmas Day off.

Gifts delivered count: 45,000 and rising fast.

A very excited elf using a laptop

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Roman Samborskyi)

If you're in the US, you can actually call NORAD from 4am MST on December 24th up until midnight to find out where Santa is: the number you need is 1 877 HI-NORAD (1 877 446-6723).

NORAD says that more than 1,250 uniformed personnel and civilian volunteers give up their time to answer calls and to make sure you always know where Santa is.

However, they'll also give you an important warning: Santa isn't going to deliver his presents until you're asleep!

Google Santa tracker in New Zealand

(Image credit: Google Santa Tracker)

Santa has arrived in New Zealand! He's likely had to take his jacket off while putting out presents, as it's 23°C / 73°F right now in Auckland – so it's little wonder that in this country a BBQ is just as likely to be the official meal of Christmas Day as a traditional roast lunch or dinner.

Christmas trivia: Kiwis have their own special Christmas tree called the Pōhutukawa, which has bright red flowers that are popular decorations and also feature on Christmas cards. It's been associated with Christmas since the mid 1800s, though many people do also erect the globally recognized pine-style tree in their homes.

Present count update: Santa has given out more than 10 million presents so far, and he's just getting started.

Apple gift card promo image

(Image credit: Apple)

It might not actually be too late to buy your Christmas gifts, depending on where in the world you live. Digital gifts – Spotify subscriptions, audiobooks, a year of Netflix – can be bought online and delivered instantly.

For example, you can buy virtual and physical gift cards for both the Apple and Google app stores, giving your loved ones some money to spend on the best iPhone apps or the best Android apps.

We're still waiting for the NORAD Santa Tracker to burst into life, but in the meantime the site offers plenty of activities to keep you and the kids busy. You can find ideas for games, recipes and crafts, and even get a personalized video message from the main man of the moment.

Over on the Google Santa Tracker, the present giver in chief has swung across to the McMurdo Research Station in the Antarctic, and at the time of writing is heading for his next stop in the Solomon Islands. However, there are still 14 hours to go until he reaches the spot where we're currently live blogging from...

Google Santa tracker zoomed out

(Image credit: Google)

Santa is really covering some distance now: after heading all the way down to the McMurdo Research Station in the Antarctic, he's currently busying himself around the Kuril Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Local time is 11pm on Christmas Eve, where Santa is now, so good boys and girls should all be tucked up and snoozing.

More than 37 million presents have now been distributed, and there's still a long, long way to go. Santa Claus will shortly be heading to Papa New Guinea and Australia, where we've heard surfing in a Santa hat isn't uncommon around Christmas time – not that the real Santa will have any time for that.

Child surrounded by teddies with an Amazon Echo Dot smart speaker

Now guys, listen up: 'Alexa, where's Santa?' (Image credit: Amazon)

If you want to find out where Santa is hands free, and you have an Echo or Echo Dot, then another trick you can try is enabling the NORAD Santa Tracker skill on Alexa, which will then allow you to say things like “Alexa, ask NORAD Tracks Santa, where's Santa?" - it's a bit cumbersome but if Alexa is the only smart assistant in your house, you've got to work with what you've got.

You can ask 'Alexa, where's Santa?' if you enable another holiday personality skill too - head into the app and you'll see it displayed proudly at the top, and you can get stories, info and all manner of things too.

Santa on a sleigh moving across the Pacific towards the Solomon Islands

(Image credit: NORAD)

Aha! NORAD's Santa tracker is up and running. There he is, heading across the Pacific ocean towards the Solomon Islands.

Santa giving gifts on Ioto, Japan, on the Google Santa Tracker

(Image credit: Google)

Google's Santa Tracker shows him having passed over Japan, touching down in the islands of Chichijima, Ioto and Saipan. There he is handing out the goodies in Ioto. He's now delivered some 48 million of them - that makes my annual scramble to buy about six gifts pale in comparison!

Santa in Papua New Guinea on the Google Santa Tracker

(Image credit: Google)

Santa's now reached Papua New Guinea, with Australia next on the list (I think). He might not need his big suit for this leg of the journey - the temperature in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, is currently a balmy 26 degrees C / 78 degrees F.

Next up: Australia. Santa has now stopped off in Cairns and is currently headed for Townsville. It's hot there, too, which is why they leave Santa a nice, cool beer by the Christmas tree.

As you can expect, the summer season makes for a very different-looking festive season than we’re used to in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s popular to have seafood down under for Christmas, and on Boxing Day, many families and friends will gather for a BBQ on the beach.

It might take Santa a while to visit every child in Australia - it is, after all, the world's sixth largest country. While you wait, you could have a go at one of the excellent games on Google's Santa Tracker page. My favorite is Quick Draw - although I'm not very good at it.

Santa Tracker

(Image credit: Google)

How does it work? Well the robot asks you to draw something, then tries to guess what it is. It's like Pictionary, but with a robot rather than your family all shouting at you. The effect is much the same though, with it getting repeatedly annoyed at me and saying "I don't know what that is!"

Santa travelling over Australia on the NORAD santa tracker

(Image credit: NORAD)

NORAD has Santa travelling towards Canberra right now. I'm not sure if that's snow around him - that seems unlikely. It's probably some kind of magical stuff.  

Santa's now left Australia and according to Google is headed back across the Pacific, towards Fukuoka in Japan. 

Japan has a slightly different formula to most Western countries that celebrate Christmas, where it’s considered to be a day you spend with friends and partners. Instead, New Year’s Day is the day to celebrate with family. Christmas Eve is also Japan’s version of Valentine’s day, so overall, it’s the season of sentimentality. 

Japan’s Christmas culture is fairly unique, too. Believe it or not, the meal of choice on Christmas in Japan is KFC, with an estimated 3.5 million Japanese families flocking to the fast food chain for their Christmas chicken fix. There are also some typical traditions like Christmas cakes, lights, and markets with a culturally relevant Japanese spin on them. 

Santa over China on the NORAD Santa tracker

(Image credit: NORAD)

Josie - Santa’s now spreading Christmas cheer across China, where he’s better known as Dun Che Lao Ren (dwyn-chuh-lau-oh-run).

As Christianity spread in China, so too did Christmas celebrations, which carry over a lot of classic traditions but with a more culturally relevant twist. Those who celebrate the festive season will light their homes with paper lanterns, adorning their Christmas trees with paper decorations. 

Google Santa tracker showing Santa in the Philippines

(Image credit: Google)

Here's our Buying Guides editor Michelle Rae Uy with a bit of information about Santa's next destination: "Santa's now flying over the one of the most Catholic country in the Asia, surpassed only by Timor-Leste. And, what a sparkingly-festive welcome he (or she) gets.  

It's no surprise that the Philippines go all out during Christmas-time, many of their holiday traditions rooted not just in Christian practices but also inherited from the Spanish during the colonization. Nativity scenes (or belen in Tagalog) and Christmas trees not only bedeck homes, but lit-up Christmas stars called parol line up the streets and adorn buildings as well. And, starting September too. 

Today, Santa's got his work cut out for him as Filipinos will be awake and out in droves attending Misa de Gallo then heading on home for a late-night Noche Buena, featuring all of my favorite Filipino desserts, which is honestly better than milk and cookies." 

I'm sure Santa would agree. 

Next up, it's the big one - Santa is headed for Christmas Island!

Santa headed towards Christmas Island on the NORAD Santa tracker

(Image credit: NORAD)

Why is it called Christmas Island? Surely it's Father Christmas' holiday destination, off the coast of Australia?

It could well be - but the reason for the name is less exciting. The first European to sight the island decided that it should be so named because... Captain William Mynors named it on Christmas Day (25 December) 1643.

Seems a bit obvious, really.

And with that, he's past Christmas Island and on towards Indonesia. That's on NORAD at least - Google has him back in Australia. One of them clearly isn't right, but so long as everyone gets their presents it doesn't matter too much.  

I think it's time to 'review' another couple of mini-games from Google's Santa tracker. How about Present Bounce, which challenges you to bounce presents (obviously) from a chute into a big stocking thing. It's really tricky.

PResent bounce Santa Tracker

(Image credit: Google)

It’s much easier on a laptop with a mouse and keyboard than it is on a tablet or phone - as most of these games are. But it’s a fun, diverting way to get the little ones to think logically / waste time when you’re supposed to be working on Christmas Eve.

Or you could try Snowball Storm. This Battle Royale-style game sees you slinging your way around a forest, dodging behind trees and grabbing power-ups in the shape of presents. It's infuriating and slightly addictive - you need to master the tap (or click) to really make your way through it. 

It was so infuriating that it incited one our writers to pen... well, this in 2020. Read it to understand his battle with futility at this game.

Santa tracker on NORAD showing a zoomed-out globe

(Image credit: NORAD)

Santa's currently making his way across China again, having visited Lhasa and the Tibetan plateau. That's according to NORAD at least - Google has him further south, in Laos, and heading towards southern China.

Either way, this zoomed-out image on NORAD shows the scale of the task - that's a lot of visits to make in one day.  

Want to know what goes on behind the scenes at NORAD when you get through to a volunteer to find out the current location of Santa?

Well, wonder no more - it's basically someone checking the data and letting you know where he is, while also giving the information that you must be asleep to make sure he visits.

Surprised something so closely related to the military is allowed to be so behind the scenes...

Santa's now criss-crossed over much of central Asia and is heading into India. In fact, Google currently has him at Mount Everest, where we can't imagine there are too many children - but maybe some deserving mountaineers.

He's now dispensed some 1.985 billion gifts, according to NORAD, or 2.5 billion according to Google. Either way, that's a lot of wrapping paper and sticky tape. 

Santa heading towards Dubai on the NORAD Santa tracker

(Image credit: NORAD)

NORAD and Google now appear to be diverging. They've mostly followed much the same route, but now Google has Santa in Afghanistan whereas NORAD has him heading towards Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.  

Santa flying over Madagascar

(Image credit: NORAD)

NORAD Santa is stopping by Madagascar, having just passed the Seychelles. Both sound pretty great for a relaxing Christmas break, especially if you're having to put up with the freezing temperatures currently engulfing most of the US.

Not that Santa gets much time to stop for a chill-out, on his journey, of course, but hopefully he got to see a lemur or two.

Santa Tracker over Kenya

(Image credit: Google)

The Google Santa’s travels have taken him to Kenya now, where lots of other people have been travelling too to make sure they are with their families over the Christmas period. One of Kenya’s languages is Swahili so Santa will make sure to call ‘Heri ya Krismasi!’ or ‘Krismasi Njema’ down from his sleigh between present stop-offs. 

On Christmas Day in Kenya, one of the most popular traditional dishes to be enjoyed with family members is Nyama Choma or roast meat. This can be goat, sheep, or lamb and is roasted outside on a barbecue and served with rice and chapatis. Hungry just thinking about it…

Santa tracker over scandinavia

(Image credit: Google)

Santa is heading to Scandinavia! Christmas traditions vary depending on where you live.

Norwegians have been celebrating all month with markets and merriment. And, of course, there’s plenty of feasting in Norway too. A long standing Norwegian Christmas tradition is eating lutefisk, a dried fish treated with lye – or lut. It’s a bit of an acquired taste but according to more than 750 tonnes are hungrily eaten every year.

He’ll see lots of cosy candles in windows as he makes his rounds in Sweden but these are no ordinary flames. The Advent Candlestick is a Swedish tradition counting down the Sundays before Christmas. Every Sunday a candle is lit, Swedes enjoy spicy mulled wine and eat gingerbread biscuits to celebrate. Gifts are traditionally swapped after dark on Christmas Eve so there’s already plenty of wrapping paper scattered around before lots of feasting tomorrow. 

Did you know that Santa's sleigh has to travel 650 miles per second (that's 3,000 times the speed of sound!) in order to deliver all those presents on time? That makes it the fastest vehicle on the planet.

Santa flying over germany

(Image credit: NORAD)

Santa has reached Germany! If you’ve been carefully opening your advent calendar every day, you’ve got Germany to thank for the daily tradition of counting down to Christmas in this way. Although there weren’t any Lego options when German Lutherans kicked it all off in the 19th century… 

Santa will be very glad he’s missed Krampus Nacht, a chaotic celebration on the 5th of December as people dress as the horned demon of Christmas sent to scare naughty children. It’s traditional to wait until today, Christmas Eve, to put the tree up and most of the celebrations and gift giving are well underway. 

Fireworks over Barcelona at Christmas

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Boule)

Santa's currently in Northern Africa right now, showering Tunisian and Algerian children with gifts after a quick stop in also predominantly-Muslim Morocco. But, we're just he quite enjoyed his time in Spain, which go all out and celebrate Christmas through January 6, the Three King's Day.

Santa would have flown over a lot of nativity scenes constructed carefully across the cities and towns of Spain, and heard a lot of Spanish Christmas carols called villancicos echoing up from the ground. He probably would have enjoyed some flamenco rhythms influencing the ones over the south of Spain. 

Just like France, Spain settles down to a special Christmas Eve meal. This is Nochebuena, meaning ‘good night.’ A delicious sweet nougat called turron is an essential part of the tasty celebrations along with plenty of shaped marzipan treats. 

Child in Ghana celebrating christmas

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Kwame Amo)

St. Nick might have just arrived in Ghana, but the celebrations here kicked off from the 20th so he’s a little late to the party. The good news is that the frivolity lasts until early January so there’s plenty of fun still to be had. 

Just like Kenya, lots of people have been travelling from all over the country to celebrate the festivities with family members. Ghana’s capital, Accra, is full of music festivals, live events and parties over the Christmas period and is fully decked out with trees, tinsel, and sparkling lights. What a great view for the big man in red! 

Santa in England

(Image credit: NORAD Santa Tracker)

Santa has touched down in the UK, which has a rich Christmas culture, but some of it will seem pretty wacky and wild to onlookers. My favorite tradition to explain to non-Brits is Pantomime, (or Panto), which is a family-friendly form of musical theatre retelling a classic fairy tale with slapstick comedy, gender-crossing actors, and a whole load of audience participation. It’s weird, and just a little cringe-inducing, but it’s a great family day out.

We also call Santa “Father Christmas”, hang oversized socks called stockings at the end of our beds to be filled with gifts, and have a tug-of-war with cardboard tubes called crackers (which have literal gunpowder inside of them) until they rip apart with a “bang!”. Wild.

Santa crossing the Atlantic

(Image credit: NORAD Santa Tracker)

Either Santa's a bad planner (and jumping continents willy-nilly) or is making great time because right now, he's just crossed the Atlantic to Brazil.

We hope he has some air conditioning options on his sleigh because all that fur isn’t going to be ideal for Brazil’s tropical climate. In fact, many Brazilians celebrate Christmas with a tasty outdoor barbeque with family. Here, Santa is known as Papai Noel and delivers presents through windows instead of chimneys. The celebrations kick off on Christmas Eve with dinner and a trip to Church for ‘Misa de Galo’ or the rooster’s mass. 

Santa going to Argentina

(Image credit: NORAD Santa Tracker)

After a quick stop at the Palmer Station, the famous outpost in Antarctica (and probably waving hello to those adorable penguins because who wouldn't?!), Santa's back in South America. More specifically in Argentina, where Christmas begins promptly at midnight. 

Many families kick off the holiday by hosting festive celebrations in their homes, opening gifts with their loved ones, and lighting fireworks in the early hours of the morning.

Santa in Brazil

Santa cruising into Brazil (Image credit: Future)

Most of us struggle to deliver a dozen holiday gifts, but by Norad's count, Santa is up over 4 billion as he heads into Brazil, which calls Christmas Natal, and Portugal, where he can still probably smell the delicious scents of octopus cooked with potatoes and Portuguese cabbage holiday dinner.

Santa may change his big, fluffy red suit for something silkier (still red, though) and he'll need to leave room for all the socks Brazilian kids leave out for him in exchange for a gift. Let's hope they're all clean.

From here it's onto French Guyana where tons of lights will guide his journey and he may already smell the spicey pepperpots being prepared for Christmas morning.

Santa in Brazil

(Image credit: Future)

Santa with Gift

(Image credit: Lance Ulanoff)

After a quick stop in the Northern US (Cape cod, to be exact), Santa's back over the Atlantic and on his bay to Bermuda where he might look down and see a Christmas Eve candlelight service at the oldest Anglican Church in the Western Hemisphere. From there, he cruised into Puerto Rico (how fast is he going?)  where he have seen preparations underway for the Misa de Gallo midnight mass.

Now, it's on to South America. Heading south of the equator, Santa doffs his heavy coat to enjoy warm-weather Christmas. He’s flying along the Amazon River, making sure to keep his reindeer well out of crocodile range.

With 5 billion packages delivered, you might think Santa was nearly done, but by our estimation, he has a good bit of the US to cover. The good news is that there are almost another six hours to make it from coast-to-coast, and judging by how fast Santa flies and drops his parcels under millions of trees, this should be a cinch.

Santa in Brazil

(Image credit: Future)

Santa's back on the US East Coast where he passed over the nation's capital and is now flying south and then north again (oh, hey Philadelphia). 

His incredible 24-hour journey is almost through. If we're guessing correctly, Santa will go from the south to the Midwest and then, maybe, California.

After delivering gifts up and down the US’s west coast from Imperial Beach in San Diego County up past Cape Flattery in Washington State, Santa should make one last sweep along British Columbia and all the way up to Alaska.

He’ll have to make a stop at the North Pole, Alaska, Santa’s home away from home where he can visit the post office which handles many of the Letters to Santa that, naturally, always make it to the real North Pole, and meet with the former mayor who, in a fit of devotion, legally changed his own name to “Santa Claus.” There’s no question, though, who is the real jolly elf.

After that, Santa’s got a quick, 3,000-mile trip to Hawaii where he probably doesn’t have time to join in one of the backyard parties where they’re making a traditional kalua pig, which is cooked underground after being covered with hot rocks and banana leaves.

Okay, maybe Santa grabs a fast bite and lets his near-exhausted reindeer have a quick, revitalizing snack. They've all really earned a rest.