If you're wondering how to keep your kids occupied and get those last-minute gifts wrapped (wink, wink), NORAD, the military organization responsible for the aerospace and maritime defense of the United States and Canada, has several ways for you and your family to track Santa on Christmas Eve. Here's the rundown:
On the web
The official web site has a countdown clock, an interactive game section and lots of info on the jolly ole elf including the best FAQ ever. Sample: "How can Santa travel the world within 24 hours? NORAD intelligence reports indicate that Santa does not experience time the way we do..." In the "About Santa" section, you can find out how to send or receive a personal video message from Santa. The web site really gets hopping on Christmas Eve. This is when you can download the Google Earth plug-in to track his flight in 3D and an interactive that shows how many cookies Santa eats during his journey.
On social media
The facebook page has status updates on Santa's whereabouts, trivia questions and news on the latest Santa tracking technology:
"From the North Pole! Santa's sleigh is getting a tune up at the repair shop! Only 8 days till we start tracking Santa!"
You can add "NORAD Tracks Santa" to your circle on the new social media platform. Honestly, the "stream updates" are nearly identical to the Facebook posts, but it's kind of cool to add Santa to your inner circle of friends.
Follow @noradsanta with hashtag #Santa to get up-to-the minute tweets like this "#Santa likes visiting small towns like McGrath, Alaska… population of less than 1000!"
You can watch last year's Santa video, then go back on Christmas Eve to check out the updates. scroll down to see U.S. Marines from the Wounded Warrior Regiment taking time to track Santa with NORAD.
On your smartphone
Go to noradsanta.org to download the NORAD Tracks Santa app on your iPhone or Android smartphone. On Dec. 24, open Google Maps for mobile and do a search for "Santa" to see his latest location.
The NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center will be open from 5 a.m. Dec. 24 through 4 a.m. Dec. 25 to receive calls from anxious children around the world. Official santa trackers will be standing by to update you on Santa's current location.
Call 877-446-6723 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org