Chicago children still are hours away from setting out milk and cookies and nestling into their beds with visions of sugarplums, Zoomer Dinos and everything “Frozen” dancing in their heads.
But it already is Christmas in many parts of the world, and Santa Claus has begun his whirlwind journey to the houses of good little boys and girls in each country.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, also has been busy, tracking Santa’s sleigh packed with gifts and, according to a video uploaded to its official YouTube channel, making sure the skies are clear for each stage of his flight.
NORAD captured Santa’s sleigh taking off from the North Pole at about 5 a.m. Chicago time Wednesday.
His first stop was in Magadan, Russia, it said.
Only Santa Claus knows where he will stop next, NORAD noted earlier today, but he generally visits each country between the hours of 9 p.m. and midnight, when children are most likely to be asleep.
The agency tracks the movement of his sleigh by radar, SantaCam and jet fighters, as well as by following the heat signature from Rudolph’s nose using infared sensors on its satellites, according to its website. It also briefs Santa on the weather before he leaves the North Pole and tweets fun facts about many of the countries he visits for those following him, it said.
It’s been tracking and protecting Santa since 1955 when a typo in a Sears advertisement sent children’s calls to Santa instead to NORAD’s predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD). From that night on, it has answered calls from children every Christmas Eve, letting them know where Santa’s sleigh is on its radar.