It's almost time for jolly old St. Nick to make his trek around the world, bringing joy and gifts to good little girls and boys. Will Santa stop at your house this year – maybe bring you a special polar treat from the Quark Expeditions Gear Shop?
Each year, technology companies give us the gift of their Santa Trackers, the most notable of which come from Google and Microsoft.
If you're hoping to track the big guy as he leads his reindeer around the world, check out these two Santa Trackers – they're as much fun for adults as they are for Santa-obsessed wee ones!
Microsoft & NORAD Santa Tracker
Microsoft and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) have teamed up again this year to offer a Christmas Eve countdown powered by interactive Bing Maps.
NORAD has been tracking Santa's annual journey for over 50 years, since 1958. Its powerful North Warning System radar network, with 47 installations across Northern Canada and Alaska, scan for signs of Santa taking off from the North Pole .
Once he's off the ground, Santa is tracked by NORAD's satellites located 22,300 miles above the Earth's surface.
It gets better, though – NORAD switches from satellite tracking to the SantaCam to give people around the world a birds-eye view of Santa in action. The cameras, according to NORAD, are used only once each year, on Christmas Eve.
Finally, Santa and his reindeer get to enjoy their own guided North Pole adventure, as they are escorted around the North Pole and North America by Canadian and American fighter pilots.
You don't have to wait until Christmas Eve to join in the holiday fun – NORAD and Microsoft provide an interactive Santa's Village full of games, movies, music, a library and even a gift shop.
Google's Santa Tracker
Google offers a Santa Tracker of its own, with plenty of interactive games and activities to keep you entertained until The Big Day.
On Christmas Eve, you can follow Santa's flight path on a 2D map powered by Google's Map program. Follow along on the Santa Tracker website, or download the Android phone and tablet app free from the Google Play store.
One really fun element in Google's Santa Tracker is the ability to send free, personalized messages and phone calls from Santa Claus himself to your friends and family. Emails can be sent 24 hours a day and phone calls placed between 8am and 9pm. Answering a few simple questions via instant messaging tells the Google team (I mean, Santa) all they need to know to get your personalized holiday message on their way.
Kids in your life might also like Google's Advent Calendar, an interactive part of the Santa Tracker site and app. Each day, a new game or activity becomes available to users.
Happy Holidays, from the Whole Team at Quark Expeditions!
As you prepare for the holidays and quality time with family and friends, we wish you all the best, from our family at Quark Expeditions, to yours.
If a polar expedition has been on your wish list, give us a call at 1-844-249-2058 (1-802-490-1788 outside North America) and speak with one of our expert Polar Travel Advisers about planning your first – or next – Antarctic or arctic trip. You can also send us an email and we'll get in touch with you to see how we can help make your polar dreams come true.
Have a safe and happy holiday!