New & improved NORAD site launches just in time for Santa tracking

Dec. 3, 2013 at 3:05 PM ET

The Official NORAD Santa Tracker /
The Official NORAD Santa Tracker

For those of us who grew up before the internet (yes, us olds), the NORAD Santa reports during the local news were something we looked forward to every year. We'd see where Santa was on a big globe (in China, always in China) and get so excited we couldn't sleep Christmas eve. And now our kids track can Santa's big trip on the web or via apps, and there's so much more to do!

The Official NORAD Santa Tracker (that's the North American Aerospace Defense Command [formerly North American Air Defense Command, thus the acronym]) got a full makeover this year with a little help from Microsoft, and is now a Christmas countdown hub with an advent calendar that releases a new Christmas-themed game every day. (Note to parents: these are very simple games, older kids will get bored.) There are also short videos about NORAD tracking Santa that are super fun and interesting. On Christmas Eve, the site will debut a 3D globe that will allow kids to spin the globe or zoom in on Santa's stops as well as the ability to Skype in with NORAD volunteers to check in on Santa's status. 

The official tracker is also available as an app for Windows phones and the Surface tablet. 

If you don't have a Windows phone or tablet, both Apple and Android have unofficial apps in their stores, but the web version works with all browsers. Either way, the holidays are here and it's time to start keeping tabs on the big man in the red suit!

Tanya Edwards is a contributing writer for iVillage. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.