NORAD Santa tracker 2023 LIVE: Not long till Father Christmas kicks off his journey to deliver billions of presents to children across the globe TOMORROW

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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 are on a mission 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.

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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