Each Christmas Santa amazes us all with his global fulfilment service capabilities (Amazon is fast catching up though). We think Father Christmas has enough public support to survive, and of course no one wants to get on his naughty list. In the current spirit of invasive digital surveillance it's easy to track Santa on your PC, tablet, or smartphone.
How to track Santa: Google's Santa Tracker
The cynical will be quick to point out that Google knows pretty much everything about everything these days. Well, why not use that knowledge to spread a little happiness this festive season? On the Google Santa Tracker site there's a different activity for each day in December, counting down to Christmas Eve.
When it's the big day, you'll see Santa's location and how far he is from you, and the precise number of gifts he has delivered. On the right will be a live blog of his journey. And the best thing is that there's no app to install and it works on PCs, phones and tablets. What more could you ask for? Well, if you want a nice 3D view with animated reindeer, try Norad's tracker below.
How to track Santa: Using NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command)
To those of a certain age NORAD will conjure up images of a fresh faced Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy bringing the world to the edge of world war three just so they can play the latest video game. In the 1983 classic War Games, the final scenes of potential global disaster are played out in the mountain stronghold of NORAD, where generals track any nuclear missile attacks from aggressive nations (well, back then it was the Soviet Union).
Today, at least online, NORAD has turned its considerable monitoring abilities to geo-locating Father Christmas, who presumably must reach some incredible, missile-like, speeds while traversing the skies. That, or it sees him as a threat to national security. After all, he does still predominantly wear red.
Actually the NORAD Tracks Santa site is a glorious celebration of Father Christmas and just a fun place for kids (and adults) to waste a little time. While the primary function appears to be watching the Santa express blaze its trail across the skies, as that all happens at night (when most of us are asleep) the builders of the site have opted to include a few other distractions. These include a collection of Christmas themed songs, just like Google's tracker.
Plus, like Google's tracker, there are arcade games to play throughout December, one unlocked each day on an advent calendar.
The tradition of NORAD tracking Santa's flight began back in 1955 when a misprint in an advertisement ended up with children calling NORAD (or rather it predecessor CONAD) by accident to ask where Santa was. Colonel Harry Shoup, showing a considerable good grace, had his staff check to see where the sleigh currently was, and another Christmas legend was born.
How to track Santa: Using Santa Update
If you prefer a more journalistic approach to the sleigh preparations and social conditions in Santa's toy workshop, then Santa Update is the place for you. This site covers the news that somehow gets missed by the wider media outlets, including radio interviews with well informed elves speculating about a strange, large building with no name in which Mr Christmas is storing something mysterious.
Santa update has also broken several stories regarding sleigh flight testing in Malaysia, speed trials through Russian airspace, and random sightings over Japan where St Nick is thought to be conducting reconnaissance missions. Any disgruntled elves out there that wish to blow the whistle on any Santa scandals can also send their reports directly to the site for publication.The real highlight though is the live radio broadcast set to take place during the big night, which Santa insiders have revealed is being called 'Operation Merry Christmas' by big beard himself.
Part of Santa Update is Elf HQ, which handles messages to Santa and the elves online.
There are email addresses on the site for you to contact St Nick directly and ask him his true intentions. While you're there can you put in a good word for us too? We have been really, really good this year, and would love a Microsoft Surface Pro 4.