In case you’ve always wondered exactly when Santa will be coming down your chimney, there’s now an app for that. Enter – the NORAD Santa Tracker. The North American Aerospace Defense Command will be implementing their Santa Tracker for the 60th time this year, letting children and adults alike follow Santa’s journey from the North Pole and around the world.
On Wednesday, NORAD’s Santa Tracker was brought to the table of discussion at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican of Arkansas, asked General Paul Selva, who is the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff if the military would be tracking Santa yet again this year. Selva responded in good humor, saying, “…I understand that the reindeer have been in fact fed their quantity of oats and are prepared for the delivery of all gifts to those who have been nice and not naughty.” Cotton kept a straight face while asking Selva about tracking Santa, and Selva responded equally seriously. This would be a great clip to show to any doubting children.
Now in its 60th year, people who enjoy tracking Santa can even download an app. The app has been available since 2013, and 40 to 50 percent of people interested in tracking Santa are apparently doing so via the app. However, the process of tracking Santa wasn’t always so high tech. When NORAD’s Santa Tracker was started, it was only broadcast on radio stations. The actual website wasn’t developed until 1997. Most people using the Santa Tracker are under the age of 12, which means keeping up-to-date with technology is very important. This is especially important with the NORAD Santa Tracker’s increasing popularity; according to NORAD spokeswoman Major Jennifer Stadnyk, last year, 21 million unique visitors from 234 different countries visited the website. The Facebook page for the Santa Tracker has more than 1.5 million likes.
The official tracking website offers kids the opportunity to interact with games, movies, music, a library and a gift shop, all surrounding the idea of tracking Santa. There is also a countdown, and the responsive design of the website makes it approachable for people of all ages. Cotton’s response during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing raises an important point surrounding the holidays this year: it’s important never to take yourself too seriously. This holiday season, remind yourself of what’s really important. And hey – why not track Santa while you’re at it?