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WHERE'S SANTA? How to track Santa with the kids this Christmas Eve

By Lila Gross -  

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - With Christmas just days away the little ones may be wondering if Santa will soon be there.

And that's why the Santa tracker is available to keep tabs on the jolly guy.

HOW IT WORKS

For 63 years the North American Aerospace Defense Command has had 'eyes in the sky' so they can follow every stop on Saint Nick's magical journey.

And on Christmas Eve good boys and girls can check his whereabouts.

NORAD uses its satellite systems, high-powered radar, and jet fighters to track Santa each year.

Starting at 2:01 a.m. EST on Dec. 24, website visitors can watch Santa make preparations for his flight.

NORAD's "Santa Cams" will stream videos on the website as Santa makes his way to various locations.

SANTA'S ROUTE

On his mythical journey, Santa generally departs the North Pole, flies to the international date line over the Pacific Ocean, then begins deliveries in island nations.

He then works his way west in the Northern and Southern hemispheres.

Alaska is usually his last stop before heading home.

GET INVOLVED

For 23 hours covering most of Christmas Eve, children can call a toll-free number, 877-446-6723 (877-Hi-NORAD) and speak to a live phone operator about Santa's whereabouts.

They can also send an email to noradtracksanta@outlook.com.

You can also follow NORAD on Facebook and Twitter for the latest details.

Before Christmas Eve you can still go to the NORAD Santa website to explore the North Pole, listen to music and play some reindeer games.

HOW IT STARTED

A 1955 newspaper advertisement for Sears Roebuck and Co. listed a phone number for "kiddies" to call Santa Claus but got it wrong.

The number was for a crisis phone at Air Operations Center at Continental Air Defense Command, NORAD's predecessor, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Air Force Col. Harry Shoup took a call from a child and thought he was being pranked. When he figured out he was talking to a little boy, he pretended he was Santa.

More children called. Shoop eventually instructed airmen answering the phone to offer Santa's radar location as he crossed the globe. That sparked the tradition.

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