NORAD Santa tracker 2023 LIVE: Father Christmas lands in Pakistan after delivering 2BILLION presents so far in India, Russia, Australia

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Written By Maya Cantina

Welcome to MailOnline’s liveblog following Father Christmas’ progress on the NORAD Santa tracker.

St Nicholas and his famous reindeer has begun to deliver billions of presents to children across the world this Christmas and here’s how you can track him yourself.

Alternatively, you can read our blog below where you’ll get the latest updates on his magnificent mission to bring joy and happiness to everyone this festive season.

Think Santa can’t reach remote spots? Think again!

While some kids might think Santa might not be able to find their home, Jolly Old Saint Nick rarely has trouble. He can reach even some of the most remote places in the world. In fact, he just visited Karsakpay, Kazakhstan – that has a population of just 1,800!

Santa has delivered 2BILLLION gifts already!

Santa has just hit a big milestone while delivering gifts in India – he has already delivered 2BILLLION gifts to happy boys and girls!

NORAD volunteers gifted goodies as Santa tracking continues

The Colorado Springs Military Affairs Council has provided ‘delicious treats’ to the NORAD team that is tracking Santa’s journey today.

Santa will be met with heavy winds as he delivers gifts across Great Britain tonight

Two separate yellow wind warnings were issued by the Met Office in Scotland and northern and central areas of England for Christmas Eve, saying people should expect travel disruption, damage to buildings and power cuts, while the rest of the country may see showers.

Forecasters say gusts of up to 56mph hit parts of the Isle of Wight and Northern Ireland on this morning.

Wind speeds of up to 70mph were recorded in Scotland later in the day, reaching 60mph in the north-east of England.

The Met says winds remain strong through the rest of the evening, especially across north.

Father Christmas arrives in India

Santa Claus has left Nepal and is now delivering gifts to families in India.

12896341 NORAD Santa tracker 2023 LIVE: Follow Father Christmas and his reindeer across the globe as satellite map shows journey delivering presents this Christmas Eve

Santa heads back to Russia

Father Christmas was last seen in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and is now making his way to Norilsk, Russia, where he is set to arrive in approximately five minutes.

He visited some Russian households earlier today.

Take a look inside NORAD

NORAD has shared an inside look into its Santa tracking operation centre.

Father Christmas reaches Indonesia

Santa and his reindeer are currently flying over Indonesia. They have delivered more than 1.5billion presents so far today.

12896341 NORAD Santa tracker 2023 LIVE: Follow Father Christmas and his reindeer across the globe as satellite map shows journey delivering presents this Christmas Eve

Santa is down under!

Santa has started delivering gifts to boys and girls in Australia. He was last spotted in Perth and is now making his way to Geraldton.

He will then head to Christmas Island.

12896341 NORAD Santa tracker 2023 LIVE: Follow Father Christmas and his reindeer across the globe as satellite map shows journey delivering presents this Christmas Eve

Santa has delivered more than 1.3BILLION presents so far today

Despite setting off only a number of hours ago, Santa has been busy.

According to NORAD, Father Christmas – who is currently working his way through mainland China – has delivered more than 1.3billion presents so far today.

It is expected that by the time he finishes his journey, Santa will have given away more than 4billion gifts.

Father Christmas heads to Hong Kong

After delivering presents to every single child in the Philippines, Santa is now on his way to do the same in Hong Kong.

Santa zooms across the sea to Taiwan

And just like that Sana has crossed the Ysea and is currently delivering presents in Taiwan – my word he’s fast!

Father Christmas reaches Shanghai in China

Santa and his reindeer are making good progress at the moment, with the jolly man about to reach Shanghai in China after blowing through Beijing just minutes ago.

Santa Claus reaches Seoul in South Korea

Father Christmas is continuing his impressive journey and has just flown over Seoul, the capital of South Korea.

Borders mean nothing to good old Saint Nicholas, as he’s set to power through North Korea next on his mission to deliver presents to all the world’s children.

Father Christmas has arrived in Japan

Santa was last seen delivering gifts to children in Sapporo, Japan. He is now headed to Tokyo.

12896341 NORAD Santa tracker 2023 LIVE: Follow Father Christmas and his reindeer across the globe as satellite map shows journey delivering presents this Christmas Eve

Santa is headed to Japan

Santa is on his way to Japan, according to NORAD.

He visited Australia just over half an hour ago and has already delivered more than one billion gifts.

Christmas Day could be the warmest in years, Met Office predicts

Christmas Day could be the warmest in years with parts of the UK set to hit 14C.

Warmer-than-average temperatures on December 25 mean a White Christmas has been ruled out for most of the country, apart from the mountains of northern Scotland.

Forecasters could not rule out temperatures hitting 16C across parts of Yorkshire on Christmas Eve, which would make it the hottest December 24 on record.

Met Office forecaster Dan Stroud said: ‘The temperatures will peak today, there is a slight downward trend in temperatures for Christmas Day but we’re still expecting them to be comfortably above average.

‘We’re looking at 13 and 14C tomorrow, we’re probably looking the warmest Christmas Day since 2016, when we actually hit 15.1C.’

The warmest December 25 on record was 15.6C in 1920, while the highest Christmas Eve temperatures of 15.5C were set in Aberdeen and Banff in Scotland in 1931.

Santa arrives in Papua New Guinea

Santa is now flying over Papua New Guinea and delivering presents to millions of children who made the nice list this year.

12896341 NORAD Santa tracker 2023 LIVE: Follow Father Christmas and his reindeer across the globe as satellite map shows journey delivering presents this Christmas Eve

Full list of all Christmas and New Year opening hours for major supermarkets and retailers revealed

With Christmas Day just one sleep away, keen shoppers will have one eye on the upcoming sales at the end of December.

Some retailers have already announced their festive opening hours across the UK – and while pulling down the shutters on Christmas Day is a given, Boxing Day hours can vary.

And some shops will even be closed for business on New Year’s Day 2024 – in a bid to let staff relax after one of the busiest times of the year.

Where is Santa Claus now? Father Christmas heads to Papua New Guinea

Santa is making his way to Kimbe, Papua New Guinea and will arrive in about 4 minutes, the NORAD tracker revealed.

Fatehr Christmas was last seen in Santa Rita, Guam. He has already delivered more than 759 millions gifts.

12896341 NORAD Santa tracker 2023 LIVE: Follow Father Christmas and his reindeer across the globe as satellite map shows journey delivering presents this Christmas Eve

NORAD tracking back up and running

NORAD has resolved its technical difficultires ajd the Santa tracker is now working again.

Santa heads to Kuril Islands

Santa has left Micronesia and is heading towards Kuril Islands next, according to NORAD, whose tracker still remains down.

The tracking service has said that anyone who needs to know where Santa is can call their oparting centre at 1-877-Hi-NORAD.

Santa heads to Fiji as NORAD battles ‘technical difficulties’

NORAD tweeted that Santa is heading to Fiji while acknowledging there are some ongoing ‘technical difficulties’ with tracking him.

NORAD tracker down again?

NORAD’s Santa tracking service appears to be down again.

The site had been tracking Father Christmas’ flight around the world, but now features an image of him in his workshop that is captioned ‘Santa prepares’.

This image appeared on the website earlier today before tracking began.

12896341 NORAD Santa tracker 2023 LIVE: Watch Father Christmas make his way across the globe to deliver presents to millions of children that made the nice list

Is Die Hard a Christmas film? The REAL answer

Die Hard star De’voreaux White has finally ended the age-old debate over whether the Bruce Willis action movie is a Christmas film.

The 58-year-old actor starred alongside Bruce’s John McClane in the 1988 cult classic, playing the cop’s upbeat limousine driver Argyle.

Since Die Hard’s release over 25 years ago, there has been much contention over whether it should be considered a festive film or not.

While many argue that because the events of the movie take place on Christmas Eve, it should be classed as a Christmas film – however because of its action-packed premise, others have fiercely refuted this.

Speaking exclusively to DailyMail.com, De’voreaux gave his verdict, and said: ‘I’m gonna break it down to you. For the record, it’s Christmas cult classic. Don’t forget it!’

While Die Hard fans can now safely label the movie as a Christmas film, De’voreaux admitted that the cast and crew were never pitched the project as such.

Santa spotted over Tonga

Santa has been spotted over Tonga. He will be heading to New Zealand next and has delivered nearly 300 million presents thus far.

Father Christmas delivers gifts in Russia

Santa is now in Russia. He has already delivered more than 86 million gifts to children today.

12896341 NORAD Santa tracker 2023 LIVE: Follow Father Christmas and his reindeer across the globe as satellite map shows journey delivering presents this Christmas Eve

The countdown to Christmas is on!

NORAD’s tracking website will begin following Santa’s journey in less than one minute.

The tracker says Santa was last seen in the North Pole and notes he has already delivered more than 32 million gifts.

He is now headed for Uelen, Russia.

12896341 NORAD Santa tracker 2023 LIVE: Follow Father Christmas and his reindeer across the globe as satellite

Santa spotted between Australia and New Zealand

The NORAD tracker still appears to be down, but other tracking sources are monitoring Santa’s journey.

According to Flightradar24, which is among those tracking Father Christmas, Santa’s sleigh has been spotted in the airspace between Australia and New Zealand.

Google’s tracker claims he is currently delivering gifts in Wellington, New Zealand. He has reportedly delivered more than 30 million presents already.

When was the last time it snowed on Christmas?

The last technical white Christmas in the UK was last year, according to the Met Office, with 9 per cent of stations recording snowfall. However none of them reported snow lying on the ground.

Snowfall was reported on Christmas Day in 2021 and 2020, but again very few reported snow lying on the ground.

The last widespread white Christmas in Britain was in 2020. Eighty-three per cent of stations reported snow on the gound and 19 per cent reported that snow or sleet fell.

The UK also had a white Christmas in 2009 when 13 per cent of stations recorded snow or sleet falling and 57 per cent reported snow lying on the ground.

NORAD tracker is down as Santa delivers millions of gifts

NORAD’s tracker appears to be down, with the latest update still showing that he is preparing for his journey.

But Google’s tracker says that Father Christmas has already delivered more than two million gifts. He has already stopped in Russia and is currently delivering gifts in the Marshall Islands.

12896341 NORAD Santa tracker 2023 LIVE: Watch Father Christmas make his way across the globe to deliver presents to millions of children that made the nice list

Met Office helps Santa by tracking global forecasts

The Met Office is helping Santa keep on top of the weather this evening as he makes his journey around the globe.

Father Christmas is preparing to leave the North Pole, where it is -4C. His first stop will be in Kiritimati where temps are 27C.

NORAD systems are ready to track Santa

NORAD says its radars and satellites are now ready to track Santa.

Father Christmas’ first stop this evening will be in Kiritimati, an atoll in the Pacific Ocean.

Will we be walking in a winter wonderland? Met Office predicts white Christmas for parts of UK

The Met Office is forecasting up to four inches of snow for parts of the UK tomorrow meaning some families will have a white Christmas this year.

Wintry showers are heading towards Scotland today, with temperatures expected to plummet to -3C overnight.

Gusts as high as 70mph are due to hit much of Scotland and northern and central areas of England on Christmas Eve.

Two separate yellow wind warnings have been issued by the Met Office, saying people should expect travel disruption, damage to buildings and power cuts, while the rest of the country may see showers during the day.

Meteorologist Liam Eslick said there may be snow on December 25 on mountains in Scotland but it is ‘not looking likely that there will be a white Christmas in Englan'”.

He added that Christmas Day is expected to be a lot milder than usual, with the average December temperature between 7C and 8C, but the top temperature that could be seen this December 25 is 14C.

12896341 NORAD Santa tracker 2023 LIVE: Watch Father Christmas make his way across the globe to deliver presents to millions of children that made the nice list

Why do we put out mince pies and carrots for Santa?

Families across the UK will be leaving out mince pies for Santa tonight, as well as carrots for his reindeer to enjoy.

But treats left out for the big guy vary across the globe, with families in America traditionally leaving milk and a tray of cookies out on Christmas Eve.

The tradition of leaving Santa a treat dates back years with many linking it to the feast of Saint Nicholas on December 6. Children would leave out food for the saint and their families would exchange the snacks for gifts.

Other theories suggest the act of leaving out treats for Santa is symbolic of the original Christmas trees in Germany, known as paradise trees, which were decorated with little bits of food – not baubles or tinsel like we use today.

Another theory is that leaving gifts for Santa dates back to Norse mythology when edible presents were left out for Odin’s eight-legged horse Sleipner as people embarked on their yule hunts. Some have linked this practice to leaving treats for Santa’s reindeer.

Santa prepares for flight

The NORAD Santa tracker is officially live as Father Christmas prepares for his journey around the globe.

He and the elves are loading gifts onto the sleigh for the billions of children who made the nice list this year.

NORAD officials have confirmed that conditions in the North Pole today ‘indicate good weather for flying’.

12896341 NORAD Santa tracker 2023 LIVE: Watch Father Christmas make his way across the globe to deliver presents to millions of children that made the nice list

What time is the King’s Speech on Christmas day?

King Chares will deliver his Christmas Day speech tomorrow at 3pm.

It will be broadcast on BBC One, BBC Two, and BBC iPlayer, as well as on BBC Radio Four and BBC Sounds. It can also be watched on ITV One and Sky One.

This follows last year’s inaugural address to the nation when officials were only allowed to make minor alterations to fit with archive footage inserted by the producers.

The King has learnt that he speaks best when he does so as off-the-cuff as possible, a talent he learnt relatively late in life.

Thousands will call the NORAD hotline today

About 1,000 to 2,000 volunteers will answers calls today as people around the world ring the 1-877-HI-NORAD hotline.

Many volunteers will be in-person at the operations centre in Colorado Springs today, CBS News reported. However, some will answer calls through a call bridge.

Last year, the Santa tracking programme answered a total of 260,000 calls.

Col. Elizabeth Mathias, US Northern Command public affairs director, told the news outlet.

‘I’ve had callers literally go speechless, because they weren’t expecting to talk to someone,’ she said.

What are some of Santa’s favorite holiday songs?

As well as being able to track Father Christmas and his sleigh using NORAD Tracks Santa, you are also able to listen to some of his favorite songs.

With a playlist that stretches to 41 songs, there is bound to be a song to help bring some festive cheer.

Some of his favorites include:

  • Santa Claus is Coming to Town
  • Hangin Round the Mistletoe
  • It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
  • Silent Night
  • Frosty the Snowman

You can visit the playlist here.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 23: Santa Claus attends the game between the Memphis Grizzles and the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena on December 23, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

Top 10 Christmas films to watch on the big day

With streaming services now widely available at home, here are some films to watch on the big day.

  • Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • Home Alone
  • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
  • A Christmas Carol
  • The Polar Express
  • Love Actually
  • Elf
  • The Holiday
  • Santa Clause
  • It’s a Wonderful Life

How to track Santa via your phone this Christmas

You can now track Father Christmas on the go with the NORAD Tracks Santa Claus app.

The tracker is available on the Google Play store and for IOS, just search for NORAD Tracks Santa to download it now.

Singer Brenda Lee recorded the original version of ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’ at the age of 13

American singer Brenda Lee, who rose to fame after singing on local TV in her home state of Georgia, was 13 when she recorded the iconic Christmas song.

The song had been written in 1958 by Johnny Marks, who also wrote the popular song ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ and ‘A Holly Jolly Christmas’.

Recalling the recording to The Tennessean in 2015, Lee said: ‘I was only 12, and I had not had a lot of success in records, but for some reason, he heard me and wanted me to do it. And I did.’

While the song wasn’t recorded over the festive period, producer Owen Bradley went out of his way to bring some festive feel to the recording studio.

Lee added: ‘When I walked into the studio, Owen had the lights way down low, the air conditioning was, I think, set on zero, and he had a Christmas tree and Christmas lights. I thought that was so special.’

The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 earlier this month, making Lee the oldest artist to ever top the Hot 100 at the age of 78.

UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: (AUSTRALIA OUT) Photo of Brenda LEE; Brenda Lee at Christmas (Photo by GAB Archive/Redferns)

Brenda Lee, seen here in her youth, became the oldest artist to ever top the Hot 100 at the age of 78 earlier this month

Top ten Christmas hits

One of the most exciting things about Christmas is the amazing music we get the chance to listen to.

Everyone has their own favorites, which can sometimes cause heated debate around the Christmas table.

But what are the greatest Christmas songs? The below ‘Greatest of All Time’ list from Billboard has fan favorites including ‘Last Christmas’ by Wham, and ‘Let It Snow’ by Dean Martin.

1. All I Want For Christmas is You – by Mariah Carey

2. Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree – by Brenda Lee

3. Jingle Bell Rock – by Bobby Helms

4. The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You) – by Nat King Cole

5. A Holly Jolly Christmas – by Burl Ives

6. Feliz Navidad – by Jose Feliciano

7. It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – by Andy Williams

8. Last Christmas – by Wham!

9. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow! – by Dean Martin

10. White Christmas – by Bing Crosby

Mariah Carey - All I Want for Christmas Is You (Make My Wish Come True Edition)Mariah Carey

Billboard ranked Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas is You’ as the greatest Christmas song of all time

‘Jingle Bells’ had originally been a Thanksgiving song

American songwriiter James Lord Pierpont first penned the now iconic Christmas song for his church’s Thanksgiving concert in the mid-19th century.

Pierpont had originally tilted the song ‘The One Horse Open Sleigh’ and was not a hit when it was originally published.

Later arrangements of the song made minor changes to the lyrics and brought in a simpler melody, making it the one of the most popular songs ever written.

Most recently, Frank Sinatra’s version of the song shot in to the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 last week.

BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: MaxWillcock/BNPS The rare first edition of the sheet music to 'Jingle Bells' has come to light 162 years after it was written. The eight page document was published in 1859, two years after its creator, James Pierpont, wrote it under the title 'The One Horse Open Sleigh'. There is no mention of Christmas in the song and it was written as a winter song associated with the practice of sleigh riding in north America. But Pierpont then added a drawing of sleigh bells to the cover of the sheet music around the new title and it then became more associated with Christmas time.

The rare first edition of the sheet music of Jingle Bells is seen here, after coming to light 162 years after being written

What should you leave out for Santa and his reindeer?

All over the world, it’s custom to leave little snacks and goodies out for Santa Claus and his reindeer to keep them going throughout their busy night.

In the United States – milk and cookies are popular offerings left out for Santa to snack on. Many families follow this tradition, but others give Santa a true taste of America by leaving out pizza and other more health-conscious families set a good example for their children by providing celery.

Australians leave cookies for Santa as well – but they replace the glass of milk with a nice cold pint of beer – because Christmas is during summertime down under.

Milk and cookies for Santa Claus

Irish families similarly treat Santa to an adult beverage – but they give Santa the authentic experience of Ireland with a traditional pint of Guinness.

Children in the U.K. also offer Father Christmas alcohol, like sherry to warm him up or a glass of whiskey. British families sometimes leave out a slice of mince pie for Santa as well.

In Argentina, kids leave out hay and water for old Saint Nick’s horses, which replace the reindeer in pulling Santa’s sleigh in Argentinian culture.

Denmark doesn’t leave out anything for Julemanden – their version of Santa – but they do leave out rice pudding for the hardworking elves.

French children leave out biscuits and carrots for Santa and his reindeer… but they put the treats in their shoes to be replaced by presents for Christmas Day.

Santa inspired the first song in space

While Santa prepares to soar through the skies tomorrow night, his past efforts have already done enough to put him into the space record books.

On December 16, 1965, astronauts Walter Schirra and Tom Stafford used a harmonica and a bell to perform ‘Jingle Bells.’

In a hilarious move, the two astronauts reportedly played the song as a prank, and told mission control the sound was coming from a strange flying object that appeared to resemble Santa.

(Original Caption) Cape Kennedy, Florida. Gemini 6 astronauts Walter Schirra (R) and Tom Stafford who will attempt to execute a rendezvous in space with Gemini 7 astronauts Borman and Lovell.

Santa first appeared in music almost 150 years ago

The first song to ever include Santa Claus in its lyrics dates back to 1864, when Benjamin Hanby wrote ‘Up on the Housetop.’

While most early Christmas songs were religious, Hanby broke the mould as he chose to sing about the story of St Nicholas.

His song was said to be inspired by the famous 1823 poem ‘A Visit from Saint Nicholas’ by Clement Moore, according to Insider.

What is NORAD?

NORAD stands for the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

The organization is a bi-national initiative with the US and Canada, which defends the entirety of North America theough aerospace and maritime warnings.

While it is typically defense-minded, NORAD turns its attention away from monitoring aircraft, missiles and space vehicles and towards the North Pole once a year.

Nearly 1,000 volunteers cycled through the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center on Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, between 4 a.m. and 10 p.m. Dec. 24, 2022. Volunteers providing updated information on Santa's location and gifts delivered worked in two-hour shifts answering phone calls from children and adults located around the globe. (Department of Defense photo by Chuck Marsh)

How does Santa travel the whole world in only 24 hours?

Santa has been baffling families for generations with his ability to deliver well-thought-out presents across the globe overnight.

According to experts at NORAD, Santa is able to do this because he does not experience time the same way we do, and while his trip might be only 24 hours to us, to Santa it might last days, weeks or even months.

‘Santa would not want to rush the important job of delivering presents to children and spreading joy to everyone,’ an insider has revealed.

‘So the only logical conclusion is that Santa somehow functions within his own time-space continuum.’

NORAD santa tracker live blog

Where will Santa Claus visit first?

When Santa sets off for his 24-hour gift-giving blitz across the globe, he tends to like travelling from east to west, with families in the South Pacific the first to get their presents.

New Zealand and Australia are the next to see their milk and cookies devoured by St Nick, before he moves up to Japan and onwards through Asia.

At the time of writing, Santa is making his final preparations for the big day, and is ready to depart in just over 15 hours.

This image provided by NORAD shows NORAD's Santa Tracker. Armed with radars, sensors and aircraft, the NORAD in Colorado keeps a close watch on Santa and his sleigh from the moment he leaves the North Pole. And it once again will share all those details so everyone can follow along as Santa travels the globe beginning Christmas Eve, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023. (NORAD via AP)

What happens if the NORAD Santa tracker goes down?

Last year families across the world were left concerned when the NORAD Santa tracker went down unexpectedly.

Millions of people were tracking Father Christamas when the technology behind the tracking system failed, leaving many staring at a blank screen.

The reason for this could have been blizzard conditions across much of North America, which may have interfered with the power system.

However, there was nothing to worry about as Santa himself was fine and delivering presents with his usual efficiency.

What will the weather be like for Santa’s journey?

As Santa is set to visit every country in the world in the next couple of days, he can expect to have to deal with almost every type of weather imaginable.

While it’s slightly warmer than usual in Britain, across the rest of the northern hemisphere winter is in control.

Temperatures will be below zero for large parts of eastern and northern Europe, China and Japan, as well as Canada and parts of the United States.

Meanwhile, in the southern hemisphere it is the peak of summer, with places such as Australia, South Africa and Argentina seeing the mercury rise above 30C.

Where is the North Pole?

The North Pole is often where people think Santa Claus lives, but where is it?

It is situated at the northernmost point of the planet – if you look at a map of Earth, it’s right at the top.

It’s an incredibly remote and cold place, where Santa lives in solitude with his elves for most of the year.

It’s so cold that even though there’s not actual land there, it can still be reached by brave adventurers who travel on frozen sea using huskies and sledges.

Panorama of the Geographic North Pole; Shutterstock ID 107082155; purchase_order: -; job: -; client: -; other: -

Where does Father Christmas live?

Father Christmas has a long way travel at Christmas and he’ll have to endure cold temperatures in the northern hemisphere while he does it at it’s winter.

However, he’s well prepared for the freezing air as he lives all-year-round at the North Pole.

In fact, it’s so cold that even though there is no actual land there, he can still live there as the sea is competely frozen over.

However, there are some who also believe that he lives in Lapland – a very cold and remote area in Scandanavia in Europe.

This area covers the northern parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland, the latter of which claims Father Christmas lives in Korvatunturi, in Rovaniemi.

Every year children from all over the world travel to Lapland to see Santa and his reindeer, who live in the wild there.

Landscape in Lapland Finland; Shutterstock ID 1054597997; Purchase Order: -

What are the names of Santa’s reindeer?

Santa wouldn’t get far on his big day without his trusty reindeer who pull his sleigh filled with presents.

In the 1800s Father Christmas was thought to have eight reindeer, however, this has since been increased to nine after the popularisation of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, who has since become the most popular of the group.

The full list of names is:

  • Rudolph
  • Dasher
  • Dancer
  • Prancer
  • Vixen
  • Comet
  • Cupid
  • Donner
  • Blitzen

What is Santa’s REAL name?

To millions of children around the world the man with the big white beard and bright red jacket is called Santa Claus.

However, he’s also known by many other names, including:

  • Saint Nicholas
  • Father Christmas
  • Kris Kringle

But where does his name come from?

It is believed the name Santa Claus comes from the Dutch word Sinterklaas, which itself comes from Sanctus Nicolaus or Saint Nicholas.

Saint Nicholas was a 4th Century bishop who was known for his generous gifts to the poor.

The heart-warming history of the NORAD Santa tracker

North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which tracks potential threats in the air over the US and Canada, first tracked Santa shortly after the Second World War.

In 1948 it issued a statement saying ‘early warning radar net to the north’ had detected ‘one unidentified sleigh, powered by eight reindeer, at 14,000ft’.

This was a one time event, but tracking Santa became a tradition through a heart-warming series of events that have passed into legend:

  • In 1955 Sears department store placed an advert in a newspaper urging children to call Santa Claus, but one child accidentally put in the wrong number and ended up calling Colorado Springs’ Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD), the predecessor to NORAD.
  • Colonel Harry Shoup, who was the crew commander on duty, responded and gave the child a made-up location for Saint Nicholas.
  • Cnl Shoup then told the press that ‘CONAS, Army, Navy and Marine Air Forces will continue to track and guard Santa and his sleigh on his trip to and from the US against possible attack from those who do not believe in Christmas.’
  • NORAD took over responsibility for reporting Santa’s whereabouts in 1958 and since then, as technology has become more advanced, so has the accuracy and precision with which they can keep an eye on Father Christmas.
  • A hotline number allows the public to ring up and get updates on Santa’s progress, with the calls being handled by more than 1,500 volunteers who give up their time to keep children in the loop about where he is.
This image provided by the Department of Defense shows volunteers answering phones and emails from children around the globe during the annual NORAD Tracks Santa event on Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., Dec. 24, 2022. (Chuck Marsh/Department of Defense via AP)

Where does Santa being his journey?

Good old Saint Nicholas has quite the journey before he arrives in Britain.

Father Christmas will begin on the International Date Line, which runs through the Pacific Ocean.

His sleigh, pulled by his nine reindeer, starts by travelling to island nations in the South Pacific before movingo onto New Zealand and Australia.

From there he will move north to Japan, over Asia and across Africa, before moving north into Europe.

He is expected to begin delivering presents in London at around noon on Christmas Eve.

After then he will move across the Atlantic, first entering Canada and then dropping off gifts for children in the United States, powering through places like New York, Boston and Florida in the space of just an hour – he works fast!

He will then continue south into Mexico, Central and Southern America, and should wrap up his mammoth journey by noon on Christmas Day.

How to track Santa this Christmas

Despite the great speed at which Santa Claus travels the world at Christmas, thanks to the wonders of modern technology we are able to track him.

The boffins at North American Aerospace Defense Command – also known as NORAD – keep tabs on Father Christmas so we can all have peace of mind that everything is going smoothly.

They even have their own website run by volunteers where you can follow his journey second by second. You can find it by clicking here.

This image provided by NORAD shows NORAD's Santa Tracker. Armed with radars, sensors and aircraft, the NORAD in Colorado keeps a close watch on Santa and his sleigh from the moment he leaves the North Pole. And it once again will share all those details so everyone can follow along as Santa travels the globe beginning Christmas Eve, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023. (NORAD via AP)

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