The most wonderful time of year has arrived. During the holiday season, millions of children count down the days of December and go to sleep on Christmas Eve, eagerly awaiting the delivery of their gifts from the beloved Santa Claus.
We’ve now followed Father Christmas’ epic 2018 journey delivering gifts across the globe using the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and Google’s Santa trackers.
Santa’s journey across the globe – in numbers
Santa and is trusty reindeer travel an estimated 510,000,000 km on Christmas Eve – approximately 1,800 miles per second.
He must visit 390,000 homes per minute – or 6,424 per second.
From sherry, mulled wine and beer, to mince pies, gingerbread men and fruit cake, Santa consumes a total of 71,764,000,000 calories.
With plenty of driving involved throughout the night, let’s hope children choose to leave him non-alcoholic beverages.
Santa’s travel route
Father Christmas‘ journey begins in the South Pacific, with his first stop to the Republic of Kiribati, a collection of 32 atolls in the Pacific Ocean.
He next travels west, delivering presents to those in New Zealand and Australia, followed by Japan.
Santa then finally visits Asia, Africa and Western Europe, concluding with Canada, the US, Mexico and South America.
How to track Santa’s journey with NORAD and Google
Throughout the year, the US and Canadian organisation NORAD, monitors aerospace in event of nuclear attack, but on Christmas Eve they turn their attention to monitoring the skies for Santa’s sleigh.
The history behind NORAD’s role at Christmas
On a Christmas Eve shift back in 1955, Colonel Harry Shoup answered a call made to the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) in Colorado Springs, USA.
To his surprise, a young child had phoned the top secret line after finding a newspaper advert about ‘Santa’s Toyland’ from department store Sears, with the number of CONAD, NORAD’s predecessor, printed by mistake.
Colonel Shoup, dubbed “Santa Colonel”, later received multiple calls that night from other children, all looking for the whereabouts of Father Christmas.
He and his fellow call operators informed the children calling throughout the night of Santa’s exact location. The Santa tracking tradition, later continued by NORAD, was born.
NORAD has carried out it’s Christmas role for over 60 years and since 1997 children across the globe have been able to track Santa’s journey of delivering presents online.
More than 50 years after the night of calls from children, Colonel Shoup’s granddaughter Carrie Farrell, who worked for Google, announced their partnership with NORAD to track Santa in 2007 – although the companies have since parted ways, carrying out their roles separately.
Santa delivers final presents to the UK
No peeking until morning, but Santa has now crossed the UK, finishing off in Ireland before he begins his crossing of the North Atlantic Ocean to reach Iceland.
As we say good night, and begin our Christmas celebrations here in the UK, Santa still has a long night ahead of him.
Travelling through 3 different time zones on Christmas Eve, Santa actually delivers gifts for almost two days with plenty of work left before the final children wake up on Christmas morning.
From all at The Telegraph, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!
Four billion gifts delivered
Santa has now delivered a whopping 4 billion gifts around the world!
Around 900,000,000 children celebrate Christmas.
Research shows that on average children receive 16 gifts each, this would mean a grand total of 14,400,000,000 toys being produced in Santa’s workshop.
It has been estimated that Santa must have around 132,000 elves to account for all of the toy production and other general tasks which need to be taken care of around the workshop.
Scotland greets Santa
Santa has headed north and has now been spotted over Edinburgh, Scotland.
Santa reaches the capital
Santa and his reindeer are now zooming down the Thames, busy visiting all of those celebrating Christmas in London.
Father Christmas tracked all the way to England!
Santa has arrived in the UK!
His sleigh first touched down in Exeter before he begins to move up the country.
Listen carefully and you might just hear the bells overhead.
Merry Christmas all!
Black Peter seen over Morocco
Father Christmas has just passed Morocco where he is known as Black Peter.
Next stop for him and his reindeer is Portugal where they say “Feliz Natal” to wish a merry Christmas.
NORAD getting some help from the ISS
Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques who is currently on a mission on the International Space Station wrote on Twitter that he is helping track Santa from space.
Santa has just stopped off in Ghana
Sinterklaas touches down in Amsterdam
The Netherlands – where Santa is currently delivering gifts – has a different impression of Santa than much of the rest of the world. For one, he’s much thinner. He goes by the name Sinterklaas, rides a white horse, and is assisted in distributing presents and candy by Zwarte Pieten.
Santa reaches Germany – or, is it Christkindl?
Santa is heading south, from Scandanavia to Switzerland, but first he’s stopping in Hamburg, Germany. For centuries, Germans believed a sprightly child named Christkindl brought them gifts – but only to those who didn’t try to catch them in the act.
Before Santa, Sweden celebrated Christmas with…
As Santa visits Swedish households, it warrants mentioning that, before he became popular in Scandinavia, these countries believed in a magical Yule goat. The goat would wander around to ensure families were preparing for Yule and demand gifts on the side.
Santa visits the Czech Republic – again!
Santa has just flown over the Czech Republic – where, according to local custom, he paid a visit earlier this month. There, Santa comes on December 5, a night known as St. Nicholas Eve, accompanied by angels and devils. After asking the children if they’ve been naughty or nice, he asks them to sing a song or recite a poem. If they’ve been good, he gives them a basket of presents with chocolate and fruit. If they’ve been bad, the devil might give them a lump of coal. Eek!
Babbo Natale, Santa reaches Italy
Santa and his reindeer are making their way up Italy’s western coast. In Italian folklore, a “Christmas witch” named Befana delivers presents to children in early January. Like Santa, she enters homes by descending through the chimney, and leaves coal for naughty girls and boys.
Three billion presents delivered!
Santa Claus has delivered his 3,000,000,000th gift! Ho ho ho! The milestone present was dropped off in South Africa, and now he’s making his way north through the continent.
O Come All Ye Faithful
While Santa is still en route, why not sing your favourite Christmas carols? Our columnist Lucy Denyer has noted there seems to be a sad decline in carol singing, which is having a negative impact on children’s voices. So make like Santa’s sleigh and let your voice soar.
Santa has delivered nearly 2.8 billion presents
As he flies through the skies – right now he’s above Egypt – Santa is nearing a big delivery milestone: 2.8 billion presents. How does his sleigh hold them all? He’s still several hours away from reaching the UK…
Next stop, Ukraine!
Santa is currently making his way through eastern Europe, and is zooming through the Ukraine.
There, Christmas trees are traditionally decorated with a fake spider and web. The custom, which is said to bring good luck, stems from an old wives’ tale about a poor woman who could not afford to decorate her tree. She woke up on Christmas morning to find a spider had covered it in a glittering web. Aww!
Santa Claus reaches Africa
Santa and his sleigh have entered African airspace, arriving in Tanzania and heading north up the continent’s eastern coast. Current location: Ethiopia.
Have we talked about Rudolph’s special nose?
Rudolph, Santa’s ‘ninth’ reindeer, was teased about his unusual bright red nose, but on one journey when it was particularly bad weather and poor visibility, Rudolph’s nose lit up Santa’s route around the world and saved the day. Nowadays it is also fitted with a special tracker that emits live updates via satellite to NORAD and Google.
What does Santa look like?
According to those in the know at NORAD…
What does #Santa look like? Based on our intelligence, Santa is approximately 5 foot 7 inches tall and weighs about 260 pounds (before cookies). He has rosy cheeks from riding his sleigh in the cold weather and has a flowing white beard. Have you seen him tonight?
— NORAD Tracks Santa (@NoradSanta) December 24, 2018
Are you leaving out a mince pie? Maybe make it a healthy low-cal one…
If each house places a 200ml glass of semi-skimmed milk and a mince pie by the fireplace, Santa drinks 148m litres of milk - enough to fill around 60 Olympic-size swimming pools - and eats a whopping 740m mince pies during his shift.
Have you got enough gift wrap?
To wrap 3.7bn presents, which need an 80cm length of gift wrap each, elves go through 296bn cm - or 1.8m miles - of wrapping paper roll per year. That’s more than 7.5 times the distance from the Earth to the moon, or 72 times the circumference of the world.
Next stop Doha, Qatar
Looking at the weather forecast, it’s a clear night and a positively balmy 18 degrees there. Light relief from flying over the freezing temperatures of twenty minutes ago
10 Christmas songs that are guaranteed to make you feel festive
Did you know..?
Russians commonly believe that an elderly woman named Babouschka purposely gave the wise men bad directions to Bethlehem so that they couldn’t find Jesus. Now, Babouschka visits Russian children on January 5, leaving gifts at their bedsides in the hope that one of them is the baby Jesus and she will be forgiven.
Does Santa ever get stressed?
According to recent research Santa finds eating so many mince pies a chore, and gets quite hot in his suit sometimes. But his biggest bugbear? Children who don’t believe in him.
UPDATE: The elves are telling us Santa will arrive in about 7 hours. Take our big children’s Christmas Quiz to pass the time
What was the name of Harry Potter’s pet owl? What sort of animal is Basil Brush? Turn off the TV, split into teams and test yourself with our 180 questions (with answers). The winner wins a Quality Street
How does India celebrate Christmas?
Compared to other religious festivals, Christmas is a relatively small festival in India. The number of people who are Christians are about 2.3% compared to people who belong to other religions.
Are your sprouts peeled? Time to turn your attention to laying the Christmas table…
Place mats, or chargers? Paper, or fabric napkins? Candles, or a holly centre piece? And, where to put the crackers? If you are having friends and family round tomorrow, the key to a successful dinner is all about scene setting and the detail. Here are a few ideas you could try
Next stop: Mumbia, India
Here, the traditional Christmas tree is typically replaced with mango or banana trees
Up, up and away! Santa is heading to Everest. Will he fly over, or scoot round?
At 29,035 feet, 8848 meters high, Everest is the highest mountain in the world and actually grows by a quarter inch a year. Geologists say it is over 60 million years old. So does this make it older than Santa? We would never ask his age….
A typical Russian Christmas Eve…
When it comes to Christmas Eve, many Russians will sit down to a feast of beetroot soup (borsch); vegan potluck (solyanka) served with individual vegetable pies (often made with cabbage, potato, or mushroom); sauerkraut and various porridge dishes. The meal often consists of 12 dishes, representing the 12 disciples of Jesus.
At the end of the meal, you are served ‘Vzvar’ (meaning ‘boil-up’), a sweet drink made from dried fruit and honey boiled in water. Vzvar is traditionally also drunk at the birth of a child – at Christmas it symbolizes the birth of the baby Jesus.
When is Christmas in Russia?
Christmas in Russia is normally celebrated on January 7th (only a few Catholics might celebrate it on the 25th December). The date is different because the Russian Orthodox Church uses the old ‘Julian’ calendar for religious celebration days. Many people fast on Christmas Eve, or until the first star appears in the sky.
Santa is in Russia!
Following the revolution in 1917, Christmas was banned as a religious holiday in 1929 and Christmas Trees were banned until 1935 when they turned into ‘New Year’ Trees. If people did want to celebrate Christmas, they had to do it in secret.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, people could celebrate Christmas again. But New Year celebrations became a more popular holiday to celebrate,
On New Year’s eve’Grandfather Frost’ (known in Russian as ‘Ded Moroz’ or Дед Мороз) brings presents to children. He is accompanied by his Grandaughter (Snegurochka). Children hold hands and make a circle around the Christmas tree and call for Snegurochka or Ded Moroz. When they appear the Christmas tree lights up.
Three cheers for Mrs Claus!
Let’s give a big shout out to Mrs Claus, the behind-the-scenes linchpin who feeds Santa and his team, looks after the reindeer, keeps the sleigh in tip top condition, and generally runs all the North Pole admin (which includes that massive post bag every December). Without her, we think you’d all agree, Christmas Eve wouldn’t run nearly as smoothly. But she hasn’t always had the recognition she deserves, though: although Santa/St. Nicholas has been celebrated for over 1,000 years now, Mrs. Claus didn’t get a single mention until the 1849 publication of A Christmas Legend, a short story by James Rees. She was later popularized by Katherine Lee Bates’s 1889 poem “Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh Ride” (the term “Goody” was short for “Goodwife,” or “Mrs.”)
Will it snow in the UK tomorrow and what are the latest odds?
Find out whether you will wake up to a white Christmas here.
TOP TEN COUNTRIES WITH BEST CHANCE OF WHITE CHRISTMAS
1- Russia –89%
2- Belarus –82%
3- Finland –19%
4- Estonia –19%
5- Lithuania –39%
6- Greenland –18%
7- Kazakhstan –95%
8- Canada –55%
9- Ukraine –15%
10- Iceland –34%
How does he do it?
There are approximately 2 billion children in the world, and around 45% of the world celebrate Christmas. That’s an awful lot of names and letters to get through. But Santa has teams of elves to help him at North Pole HQ. (not forgetting Mrs Christmas, obviously) and they start preparing for the big day way as early as January. It’s a big job…
Santa is due to arrive in the UK in approximately 9 and a half hours
Have you got your stockings out?
Santa is heading to Bangkok, the capital of Thailand
Thai people don’t go for turkey and all the trimmings but love rice and curry meal on Christmas night. Children dress up in colourful clothes to mark the ocasion
Santa breaks records for being the fastest man on earth. What other Christmas records are there that have been smashed?
The largest Christmas dinner. The fanciest Christmas tree. The most successful Christmas album in the UK (clue: it’s probably not who you think), read our round up of the 15 most surprising Christmas World Records
G’day all! Santa has reached Australia
It’s summer down under and a day many Aussies head to the beach for a barbie. It’s very often salad and fish on the menu rather than a traditional turkey roast
Santa is arriving in Malaysia
Christmas Day is a designated public holiday in Malaysia. Some Malaysian people go door to door singing Christmas carols, and many light fireworks on Christmas Eve. We hope Santa is flying at a high altitude and dodges the rockets!
How do Chinese children celebrate Christmas?
Children in China apparently hang muslin stockings for Santa Claus (who they call “Dun Che Lao Ren” which means “Christmas Old Man”).
While we’re waiting for Santa to head round our way, entertain yourself and your family with our round up of the 50 worst Christmas jokes ever
T-minus ten hours
We are five hours and 1.5 billion presents in. At this rate, it looks like Santa will be reaching the UK in just over ten hours!
A tour around China
As Father Christmas makes his way around the homes of the 1.86 billion people living in China, more NORAD sightings have been reported across Beijing an Shanghai.
Though most of the world’s plastic Christmas trees and Christmas decorations are made in China, many people don’t have a tree of their own. If they do, they are also likely to be decorated with paper chains, flowers, and lanterns rather than lights and baubles.
A NORAD spotting in China
Santa has touched down in China, for the first time this year, in the beautiful capital of Shenyang!
Chinese tradition encourages people to exchange apples wrapped in coloured paper for presents as the Chinese word for ‘apple’ sounds similar to the word for ‘peace’.
One BILLION presents!
Within the next few seconds, Santa will have delivered a whopping one billion presents!
Santa, sponge cake, and a move towards Seoul
Santa has just been spotted leaving Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, meaning he’s likely to start moving closer towards us in the UK!
When they wake up, many people in Japan will enjoy their uniquely traditional Christmas food – a sponge cake decorated with strawberries and whipped cream! The ‘shortcake’ emoji [🍰] is, in fact, Japanese Christmas cake!
This must be a record!
Santa seems to be delivering more presents than ever - and faster than we’ve seen in years!
While we continue to tot up places visited and presents delivered, why not take a look at 15 of the best festive Guinness world records (everything from the largest Christmas dinner to the oldest tree!)?
Santa’s in South Korea
As expected, Santa has arrived in the beach-lined city of Busan in South Korea!
The country is one of the only in the area to celebrate Christmas as an official public holiday; people have the day off work and school but go back on the 26th (Boxing Day). It is, uniquely, also more popular for friends and family to exchange money than gifts.
Where has Santa been spotted so far?
Since leaving the North Pole, Father Christmas has been spotted in Russia, Guam, Japan, New Zealand, and many countries in between.
His path seems to take him from North to South, then right to left, of the globe – a tactic which works best around differing time zones. Next stop? South Korea!
Merry Christmas (around the world)
If you’re travelling this Christmas, these handy”Merry Christmas” translations offer a foolproof guide to festive greetings:
Portuguese – “Feliz Natal/Boas Festas”
Spanish – “Feliz Navidad”
French – “Joyeux Noël”
Dutch – “Zalig Kerstfeest”
Belgian -“Zalig Kerstfeest”
German – “Fröhliche Weihnachten”
Austrian – “Frohe Weihnachten”
Italian – “Buon Natale”
Arabic – “Milad Mubarak”
Israeli – “Mo’adim Lesimkha”
Albanian – “Gëzuar Krishlindjet”
Greek – “Eftihismena Christougenna!”
Croatian – “Sretan Bozic”
Czech Republic – “Vesele Vanoce”
Serbian - “Hristos se rodi! Srećan Božić”
Japan – “Merii Kurisumasu”
Mandarin Chinese -“Kung His Hsin Nien Bing Chu Shen Tan”
Thailand – “Sawasdee Pee Mai”
Touchdown in Townsville!
Our latest Santa spotting comes from Townsville, Australia, where Christmas temperatures could reach up to 27°!
Whether your festive feast is completed by oven or barbecue (like our friends down under), our complete Christmas dinner guide can help you pull off your best yet…
How does Santa travel so far, so fast?
Father Christmas will visit over 90 million homes on Christmas Eve. Luckily, the difference in each country’s time zones means he has roughly two days to complete his journey.
Santa’s super-powered sleigh also helps. It travels at the speed of light – that’s 186,282.4 miles per second or 671 million miles per hour!
A jolly-looking man in a sleigh has been spotted over Iwo Jima in Japan!
For Christmas, many Japanese people swap a traditional turkey dinner for a fried chicken feast – some even pre-order KFC!
Father Christmas lands on Russian rooftops!
According to Google, Santa has just landed in the port town of Magadan, Russia!
Russia is, in fact, the number one destination for a White Christmas in the world. The country has an 89% probability for snow each year.
40 million and counting!
In just under two hours of present-dropping it is estimated that Father Christmas has already delivered almost 40 million gifts!
He was last spotted on the east coast of the Solomon Islands and it looks like he’s making his way towards Papua New Guinea.
Christmas gifts by country…
Of the millions of letters sent to Father Christmas each year, the three countries that send the most are France (1.7 million), Canada (1.35 million) and the U.S. (just over 1 million).
Kiwis, he’s coming!
As the clock strikes midnight, Father Christmas sightings have been reported in Auckland, New Zealand. Based on previous years, we expect his next destination is Wellington and it should take him less than a minute to get there. Keep your eyes peeled, Kiwi friends!
How do the Marshall Islands celebrate Christmas?
The Marshall Islands are located in the Pacific Ocean, roughly 3,000 miles southwest of the Hawaiian Islands. Traditionally, the Marshallese will not only wake to find the fruits of Father Christmas’ labour but exchange large baskets of food with each other and spend the day enjoying performances and dances from local groups.
Santa has been spotted in the Marshall Islands!
Though NORAD have yet to confirm the sighting, Google have received their first Santa sightings – he has just arrived in the Marshall Islands!
Are you starting to think about preparing tomorrow’s lunch? Follow our guide to making the perfect turkey
How many letters does Santa personally open each Christmas?
Lots! The three countries that send the most are the following: 1) 1.7 million from France, 2) 1.35 million from Canada, and 3) more than a million letters are written in the US
The rise of the Christmas Eve box
While we’re waiting for Santa to get going, there’s a new Christmas trend in town – and today is the day when it comes to fruition.
The Christmas Eve box is a package full of small gifts that kids get to open the night before Christmas. Think of as an early bird’s stocking, only without the connotations of mouldy feet.
You can find out more about what to put in these boxes (there’s still time to cook one up at home – though you’ll need to get creative) by reading our useful guide.
Ho ho ho, merry Christmas Eve.
The sleigh is being loaded up with presents. There are roughly 2 billion children worldwide – that’s one heavy sleigh!
How does Norad track Santa?
People often ask how #NORAD tracks #Santa on Dec 24th. We use infrared sensors from Rudolph’s nose to determine Santa’s exact location throughout the night. To talk to a NORAD Santa Tracker, call 1-877-HI-NORAD. https://t.co/gSvRD6ezKo #NORADTracksSanta pic.twitter.com/g8eI4zuuS5
— NORAD Tracks Santa (@NoradSanta) December 24, 2018
How does Santa deliver all those presents in one night?
He actually has almost two days as he will travel though 3 different time zones on Christmas Eve.
Can reindeer fly?
According to former Telegraph Science editor Dr Roger Highfiledd, yes, they can. They also have special trackers on the end of their noses so we can keep up with Santa in real time.
Santa HQ has just tweeted. He is awake and is checking the weather forecast to get ready for takeoff.
- My Christmas rituals: 21 celebrities reveal what they do on 25 December
- Kristen Bell Reveals How She Told Her Daughter the Truth About Santa Claus
- Cadbury fans can now get Christmas selection boxes with their name and choose what chocs are in it
- Ex-solider couldn't afford presents for children - but huge gesture saved Christmas
- Christmas 2018: B'wood wishes fans a Merry Christmas; Superstar turns Santa Claus.. Can you guess who?
- A festive miracle! Mother who was told one of her premature twins would die after they were born weighing less than 2lbs on 25th December prepares to celebrate their second birthday at Christmas
- Here’s How Westjet Helped Santa Actually Deliver Presents To Unsuspecting Airline Passengers
- Christmas Magic
- Sad Santa Letters Tell of Economic Woes, USPS Says
- Santa's OTHER little helper! Alcohol brand unveils Christmas sweaters with a special stocking-shaped pocket that fits a whole bottle of CHAMPAGNE
- Beary Merry Scavenger Hunt, Santa At The Mall In Columbia
- Basic budgeting for a blowout Christmas - 10 ways to keep your costs controlled
- Tattooed, Free-Spirited 'Santa Scott' Is Back In Bucks Co.
- Hanoi celebrates Christmas 2018
- Williamson County Sheriff Adds Santa Watch Patrols
- Holiday Tree Lightings & Parades 2019: Santa Cruz & Beaches
- Sorry Megyn, Santa Claus Is Not White
- Wall Street Weekahead: Conditions may be set for Santa Claus rally
- Wall St Week Ahead-Conditions may be set for Santa Claus rally
- Wall Street Week Ahead - Conditions may be set for Santa Claus rally
NORAD Santa Tracker 2018: Santa Claus's Christmas Eve journey to deliver gifts have 4861 words, post on www.telegraph.co.uk at December 24, 2018. This is cached page on Talk Vietnam. If you want remove this page, please contact us.