Thanks to the joys of modern technology we can now track the incredible journey of Santa Claus as he delivers gifts to children across the world.
Christmas celebrations are synonymous with Santa Claus, the jolly, white-bearded, red-suited deliverer of gifts across the planet.
He is ferried across the sky by a trusty herd of reindeer on a sleigh roomy enough to contain presents for all the world's well-behaved children, covering vast distances at incomprehensible speeds whatever the weather.
Thankfully, modern technology means that today we can track Santa on his epic voyage throughout Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and work out exactly when he's visiting your corner of the world – here's how to use two of the most wildly-known tools.
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How to track Santa on Google
Anybody using Google has the opportunity to follow Santa's progress live on Google Maps throughout Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with the search engine's tracker here.
Introduced back in 2004, Google's Santa Tracker has become increasingly elaborate in recent times, telling you how far he is from your location, the number of presents he has delivered thus far and even the weather conditions at his current "location". All of these features are also available through an Android App.
The search giant has also added a series of supplementary features like educational tools and interactive games.
This time around, there is a sprawling cartoon featuring a sleeping Santa Claus whose hat is powered off his head by his snores and lands on his alarm clock – his ensuing inability to rouse himself throws the Christmas preparations into jeopardy.
Fortunately, his army of elves – assisted by the trusty reindeer and a gang of penguins, who bundle a still-sleeping Santa into the shower – drag him through a Wallace and Gromit-esque array of contraptions to get him out of bed and into the Christmas spirit.
Eventually, cheered on by his festive fans, Father Christmas triumphantly takes his place on the sleigh and soars away on his mission, before his helpers shut down the factory for another year.
How to track Santa with Norad
However, Google is not the only organisation to track the progress of Father Christmas.
Norad - the North American Aerospace Defence Command - has worked tirelessly each Christmas for more than 60 years to provide detailed updates on his location.
There are various accounts as to why but, according to legend, it all began in 1955, when a business posted a local newspaper advert featuring a telephone number for a Santa Claus hotline for children to call on Christmas Eve.
Instead, they supposedly misprinted the number, and managed to give the contact details for Norad's predecessor the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center instead.
Whatever the veracity of the story, Norad has enthusiastically risen to the challenge, and now calls upon a small army of volunteers each year to man their increasingly slick website, which similarly to Google features games, songs and interactive North Pole tours.
It doesn't always go without hitches, though – last year, the air defence operators had to take to Twitter to assure anybody worried that the partial US government shutdown would disrupt them in their crucial task.
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