Caption: A screenshot of Santa’s Village, a fully-illustrated, interactive website with a countdown to Santa’s journey, a waving Santa illustration, and a wintery landscape with colorful buildings for each game.
‘Tis the season for twinkling lights, giving gifts, and long journeys home. But one jolly person is gearing up to leave home for the most epic trip of the holiday season.
Celebrating its 15th year, Google Santa Tracker is back to follow Ol’ St. Nick on his expedition across the globe. And this year, we’re featuring hundreds of our favorite holiday photos taken by Local Guides like you!
Caption: A photo of a Christmas tree ride in front of modern skyscrapers. Giant ornaments at the bottom double as cars for passengers to sit and ride in Astana, Kazakhstan. (Photo by Local Guide Saba Saba)
How does the Santa Tracker work?
On December 24th, Santa will take to the sky on his annual flight spreading holiday cheer to all. Upon liftoff, Santa will share his location on Google Maps so everyone can follow his trip through the Santa Tracker. You’ll get the latest updates on his location, play holiday games, and even see a live video feed of his adventure.
Want to check in on Santa while out spreading your own holiday cheer? New this year, you can also track Santa right from your phone with the Google Maps app!
Explore hundreds of places around the world
Caption: A screenshot of Local Guides photos on a page with information about Melbourne, Australia from the Santa Tracker.
Every time Santa’s sleigh makes a stop, you can see photos by Local Guides from that area, learn about local holiday traditions, and explore more cities on Santa’s itinerary. Santa will be making stops at places like Myra, Turkey, where the legendary St. Nicholas was the bishop, the city of Rovaniemi, Finland, which many consider to be the “home of Santa Claus,” and of course, Santa Claus, Indiana, USA.
Caption: An exterior photo of a snowy wood chalet with Christmas trees decorated in white lights at Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Finland. (Photo by Local Guide Ville Karhusaari)
Here’s how to track SantaCaption: A GIF of a phone with the Google Maps app, navigating to the Santa Tracker through the location sharing feature.
On the Google Maps app:
Open the app at 5am on December 24th
Tap the = menu, and tap Location sharing
When Santa’s on his way, you’ll see his icon at the top
Between stops, check out the games at Santa’s Village Caption: A screenshot of the Elf Maker game, showing an animated elf wearing a hat, scarf, and glasses, waving in front of a snowy mountain range. At the bottom, there’s buttons to change the elf’s body size, clothing, etc.
This is no ordinary village, but an interactive site full of games that teach you how to code, create original artwork, and exercise your geographic skills. While Santa is stuck on a jet stream or taking a cookie break, you can design a seasonally snazzy elf of your own with the new Elf Maker, take quizzes on holiday traditions from all over the world, test your rhythm skills with Wrap Battle, and more.
Do you have fun holiday photos to share? Post them in the comments below!