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Frequently Asked Questions about Santa Claus

How long has NORAD been tracking Santa?

NORAD’s predecessor, the Continental Defense Command (CONAD), began tracking Santa in 1955. NORAD replaced CONAD in 1958 and took over the mission of tracking Santa’s flight around the world every Christmas Eve!

Why does NORAD track Santa?

Twenty four hours a day, 365 days a year, NORAD tracks airplanes, missiles, space launches and anything else that flies in or around the North American continent. While the tradition of tracking Santa began purely by accident, NORAD continues to track Santa. We’re the only organization that has the technology, the qualifications, and the people to do it. And we love it! NORAD is honored to be Santa’s official tracker on Christmas Eve!

When will Santa arrive at my house?

NORAD tracks Santa, but only Santa knows his route. So we cannot predict where and when he will arrive at your house. But we do know from history that it appears he arrives only when children are asleep! In most countries, it seems Santa arrives between 9:00 p.m. and midnight on Christmas Eve. If children are still awake when Santa arrives, he moves on to other houses. He returns later…but only when the children are asleep!

What route does Santa travel?

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. But 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. We just track him!

Does Santa visit everyone (i.e. Afghanistan, Israel, non-Christian countries)?

Indeed! Santa visits all homes where children who believe in him live.

How can Santa travel the world within 24 hours?

NORAD intelligence reports indicate that Santa does not experience time the way we do. His Christmas Eve trip seems to take 24 hours to us, but 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 Christmas to everyone, so the only logical conclusion is that Santa somehow functions within his own time-space continuum.

Is there a Santa Claus?

Mountains of historical data and over 50 years of NORAD tracking information leads us to believe that Santa Claus is alive and well in the hearts of people throughout the world.

How old is Santa?

It’s hard to know for sure, but NORAD intelligence indicates Santa is AT LEAST 16 centuries old.

What does Santa look like?

Based on flight profile data gathered from over 50 years of NORAD's radar and satellite tracking, NORAD concludes that Santa probably stands about 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs approximately 260 pounds (before cookies). Based on fighter-aircraft photos, we know he has a generous girth (belly), rosy cheeks from sleigh riding in cold weather, and a flowing white beard.

How does Santa get down chimneys?

Although NORAD scientists have different hypotheses and theories, the NORAD scientific community has no definitive information as to how Santa actually gets down the chimneys. NORAD scientists continue to research this mystery.

Do your planes ever intercept Santa?

Over the past 50 years, our fighter jets (F-16s, F-15s and CF-18s) have intercepted Santa many, many times. When the jets intercept Santa, they tip their wings to say, “Hello Santa! – NORAD is tracking you again this year!” Santa always waves. He loves to see the pilots!

Does NORAD have any pictures of Santa taken from your planes?

Our fighter pilots love to take photos of Santa. We also have NORAD Santa Cams in space which take video of Santa as he flies round the world on Christmas Eve. These videos appear almost every hour on Christmas Eve at www.noradsanta.org

Does NORAD have any statistics on Santa’s sleigh?

NORAD can confirm that Santa’s sleigh is a versatile, all weather, multi-purpose, vertical short-take-off and landing vehicle. It is capable of traveling vast distances without refueling and is deployed, as far as we know, only on Christmas Eve (and briefly for a test flight about a month before Christmas).


Sleigh Technical Data
Feature Answer
Designer & Builder K. Kringle & Elves, Inc.
Probable First Flight Dec. 24, 343 A.D.
Home Base North Pole
Length 75 cc (candy canes) / 150 lp (lollipops)
Width 40 cc / 80 lp
Height 55 cc / 110 lp
Weight at takeoff 75,000 gd (gumdrops)
Passenger weight at takeoff Santa Claus 260 pounds
Weight of gifts at takeoff 60,000 tons
Weight at landing 80,000 gd (ice & snow accumulation)
Passenger weight at landing 1,260 pounds
Propulsion Nine (9) rp (reindeer power)
Armament Antlers (purely defensive)
Fuel Hay, oats and carrots (for reindeer)
Emissions Classified
Climbing speed One “T” (Twinkle of an eye)
Max speed Faster than starlight

Note: Length, width and height are without reindeer.

Where is Santa right now?

Santa is at the North Pole, where he lives with Mrs. Claus and the elves who make toys and take care of the reindeer year round! Each year on Christmas Eve, Santa and his reindeer launch from the North Pole very early in the morning for their famous trip around the world. The minute they launch, NORAD starts to track him! Come back to this website on December 24 and you can track Santa along with NORAD!

I would rather talk to someone at NORAD to find out where Santa is located. Is there a number I can call?

Yes! The NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center is fully operational beginning at 4:00 a.m. MST on December 24. You can call 1 877 HI-NORAD (1 877 446-6723) to talk directly to a NORAD staff member who will be able to tell you Santa’s exact location!

Can I send an email to NORAD to find out where Santa is located?

Yes! On December 24, you can send an email to noradtrackssanta@gmail.com. A NORAD staff member will give you Santa’s last known location in a return email.

Has Santa ever crashed into anything when he was flying around the world?

Santa has been flying for centuries without hitting anything. He must be a great pilot!

Besides tracking Santa, what does NORAD normally do?

NORAD is a bi-national U.S./Canadian military organization responsible for the aerospace defense of North America. NORAD provides warning of impending missile and air attacks, safeguards the air sovereignty of North America, and maintains airborne forces for defense against attack. NORAD performs this important mission 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. But on Christmas Eve each year, NORAD has one additional mission: Tracking Santa around the world! To learn more about NORAD, go to www.norad.mil

How many people support this effort, and are they active duty military personnel?

One Department of Defense (DOD) Civilian from the NORAD Public Affairs staff is assigned to manage the program. In addition, almost 1,250 Canadian and American uniformed personnel – Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marines, as well as DOD civilian and their families and friends – volunteer their time on Christmas Eve to answer the thousands of phone calls and emails that flood in from around the world.

How much money is spent on this project?

The NORAD Tracks Santa program is made possible by volunteers and through the support of corporate partners who bear virtually all of the costs.

External links

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