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Where’s Santa? View NORAD’s tracker on Santa in real time

by: Hope McAlee

Posted: Dec 24, 2022 / 04:00 AM EST

Updated: Dec 24, 2023 / 11:50 AM EST

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Santa has taken off and he’s on his way to deliver presents just in time for Christmas Day.

While he has a long way to go to make it to every home in the world, NORAD keeps track of him all the way.

Have you ever wondered how NORAD tracks Santa? Well, NORAD has it down to a science, according to Major General Greg Day with NORAD.

Day explained that there are 1000 volunteers from the military and community that help NORAD track Santa every year. While the sleigh might seem pretty small compared to a plane, the secret to NORAD being able to track Santa comes down to who is leading the journey: Rudolph.

“Rudolph’s nose is so bright that are satellites can pick him up from 22,300 miles away, and that’s because it looks like a rocket launch to us, so that’s how we start tracking them”

After that, Day said NORAD uses radars and fighter jets from Canada and the United States, like CF-18s, F-15s, F-16s, and F-35s, to track end escort Santa along his trip. Day added that Santa seems to like seeing the planes as he will often wave and the planes will tip their wings back.

Another thing to know is that NORAD tracks Santa from 6 a.m. EST in the Western Hemisphere and it seems that he usually starts delivering presents in the Western hemisphere before making his way east, zig zagging north and south as he delivers gifts around the globe, Day explained.

It might be tempting to stay up a little later on Christmas Eve to try to catch Santa, but Day added that it’s important to remember that Santa isn’t going to show up until children are asleep.

Curious where Santa is right now? NORAD has a phone number where children can call and see where Santa is. The phone number to call is 1 (877) Hi-NORAD, or 1(877) 446-6723. Or go to to track him LIVE.

In the United States, people often leave out milk and cookies, but across the world, children leave out all sorts of treats for Sant and his reindeer! According to Insider, children in Argentina leave out hay and water, children in the Netherlands and France leave out carrots, German children leave out handwritten letters, and children in Denmark don’t leave anything for Santa but they do leave out rice pudding for elves.