What is the best "Santa Tracker" for a first gen iPad?
December 24, 2012 8:18 AM   Subscribe

Help me find the best Santa Tracker

What is the best "Santa Tracker" for a first gen iPad? A website or an app would be fine. This is for a group of youngsters aged 4 to about 16 and with several scattered between those ages. All but one is a girl and the boy is 8 or so.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays MF'ers!
posted by leafwoman to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How about Google?
posted by dfriedman at 8:29 AM on December 24, 2012

NORAD Santa Tracker is usually considered the "official" one around these parts.
posted by sardonyx at 8:45 AM on December 24, 2012 [8 favorites]

NORAD is the best Santa tracker ever. I've been using it with my kids for 15 years. I haven't tried the iPad app yet but I'm sure it's just as awesome. You used to be able to email or call the folks doing the tracking and they'd spend some time with you talking about what time Santa will get to certain spots or what Kennedy Space Center left out for the reindeer (hay bales), but I don't know if they're doing that this year.

Seriously, NORAD. It's one of the best parts of my Christmas.
posted by _Mona_ at 8:50 AM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've been an official Santa Tracker at NORAD's Santa Ops Center. It's a really awesome annual tradition
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 10:40 AM on December 24, 2012

Okay, I know I'm not supposed to turn an Ask into a discussion, but I'd love to hear stories about Santa tracking from the Santa Ops Centre, Emperor SnooKloze.
posted by sardonyx at 1:35 PM on December 24, 2012

With the mods' permission, of course. If this is problematic, nuke it from orbit:

Each year in late December a conference room on Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs is set aside, a giant screen is put at the front of the room so that all can see it, and fifty or so phones and a dozen computers are set up on tables large and small. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and snacks are provided for the volunteers. Volunteers are US and Canadian armed forces personnel (NORAD is a binational joint command), federal civil servants who work at the command, and often their spouses and family members (I was sitting next to the spouse of the 4-star commanding general). As the Santa tracker rolls on, volunteers in Santa hats field calls and emails from all over the world.

Local media are invited in to do interviews with the senior military at the command (the deputy commander is a Canadian Forces 3-star) and get the "NORAD intelligence is tracking Mr. Claus and will send fighter jets to escort him safely through North American airspace" explanation, with all of the seriousness-tinged-with-an-eye-twinkle that you always hope you see in a situation like that.

I spoke with young people all over the US, several in the UK, and a family of missionaries in India. Often parents were on the line, and were very kind in expressing their delight and thanks that it was a real person talking with their child about Santa's whereabouts, and not merely a recording. I got to speak to all sorts of tough Clausiana (there were... not scripts, exactly, but guidance on what to tell young children); I was pretty bowled over by the thought & thoughtfulness that'd obviously gone into making sure the experience was a good one had by all.

Seriously, it was the best, most Christmas-y couple of hours I've ever spent anywhere near a military installation. I had a two-hour shift from about 10am to noon local time, and tried to pick up another sometime that day, but the volunteer roster was so oversubscribed it just wasn't possible. If you've got kids or know kids, and there's time left, have them call.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 3:50 PM on December 24, 2012 [7 favorites]

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