Google and Microsoft’s respective Santa tracking services are now up and running, giving you regular updates as Father Christmas delivers billions of presents around the world.

The main dashboard for Google’s Santa Tracker shows the place he last visited, as well as the next stop on his list. There’s a countdown timer to let you know when the big man will be arriving – a nice touch for any little ones that might be getting fidgety – as well as some stats to indicate the distance Santa has travelled and the number of gifts he’s dropped off so far.

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My personal favorite, however, is the status updates that Santa sends on his trip, such as “just getting started”, “cold, but warming up” and “all bundled up and ready for take off”.

By pressing the cross icon, you can also see Santa’s exact location on Google Maps, which should help to explain to Christmas-sceptics just how he manages to visit all of those houses before the big day.

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Google released a number of mini-games over December in the style of an advent calendar, and you can still access those using the drop-down menu from the top right-hand corner of the screen.

Microsoft and NORAD, meanwhile, have launched a Santa tracking service of their own. It’s a similar idea, displaying Saint Nicholas’ progress in real-time on a 3D map. The total number of gifts stack up in the lower left-hand corner and it also shows when Santa will be arriving at his next stop.

MS Santa 730x400 How to track Santa with Google and Microsoft in 2013
Even better, children are also to talk with the brass at NORAD via Skype and find out exactly how Santa is getting on with his epic journey around the world.

So, the only question is: Will be using Google or Microsoft’s services to track Santa this Christmas?

➤ Google Santa Tracker (Android app) | Official NORAD Santa Tracker