Santa Tracker 2021: When St. Nick Arrives In Florida

·3 min read

FLORIDA — As the coronavirus omicron variant spreads in Florida and other communities across the United States, many families are taking a step back and re-evaluating this year’s Christmas plans.

But, there’s at least one tradition that remains untouched by the coronavirus pandemic — seeing whether Santa Claus is en route to Florida with a sleigh full of Christmas gifts.

Pandemic aside, watching Santa make his annual trek around the world is a tried-and-true way to bring an extra spark of cheer to kids this holiday season. If you’re a parent, it’s also a good incentive to get the kids tucked into bed so you can finish prepping for Santa’s arrival.

On Dec. 24, Santa’s Village at Google Santa Tracker transforms into a tracking experience where you can follow Santa and his reindeer as they deliver presents to kids around the world. This tracker also includes children's games like "Santa Selfie," "Elf Car," a world map quiz and more.

According to the Google Santa Tracker, Santa's journey lasts 25 hours. He makes his first stop just after 10 p.m. local time in far eastern Russia, at 5 a.m. in New York and 11 a.m. in Paris.

You can also tell when Rudolph’s red nose is trained on your house and Santa is, in fact, on his with the help of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, on NORAD's Santa Tracker.

Yes, believe it or not, the U.S. military command in Colorado Springs, Colorado, charged with protecting the nation’s airspace, also tracks Santa’s trajectory.

You can download NORAD's Santa tracker app on Google Play or Apple on your phone to follow Santa's whereabouts on Christmas. Kids can even chat with the NORAD radar online as well as watch movies about NORAD and Santa, play games in the arcade, listen to Santa's favorite songs and find out more about Santa, his magical sleigh and holiday traditions.

NORAD's predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command, began tracking Santa in 1955. NORAD replaced CONAD in 1958 and took over the mission of tracking Santa's flight around the world, and has been tracking Santa every year since.

NORAD tracks Santa, but only Santa knows his route, which means NORAD cannot predict where and when he will arrive at your house. NORAD does, however, know from history that it appears he arrives only when children are asleep. In most countries, it seems Santa arrives between 9 p.m. and midnight on Dec. 24. If children are still awake when Santa arrives, he moves on to other houses. He returns later, but only when children are asleep.

According to NORAD, Santa usually starts at the International Date Line in the Pacific Ocean and travels west. So, historically, Santa visits the South Pacific first, then New Zealand and Australia. After that, he shoots up to Japan, over to Asia, across to Africa, then onto Western Europe, Canada, the United States, Mexico and Central and South America.

Keep in mind, Santa's route can be affected by weather, so it's really unpredictable. NORAD coordinates with Santa's Elf Launch Staff to confirm his launch time, but, from that point on, Santa calls the shots. NORAD just tracks him.

It's always fun to compare the NORAD and Google Santa Tracker to compare the differences between the two trackers.

This article originally appeared on the Tampa Patch

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