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It’s the most magical time of year.
For families with young children, it can be important—and fun—to embrace the holiday spirit. For those that celebrate Christmas, that may include a pilgrimage to sit on the lap of a mall Santa, or leaving cookies out overnight on Christmas Eve. This year, families have a few new ways to get in touch with Santa, though.
Thanks to several apps and online services, you can track Santa’s whereabouts. On top of that, you can even call Santa and talk to him directly. How fun is that? Here are five different ways you can bring Santa (and some Christmas cheer) into your home this year.
Santa’s phone number and other ways to connect with Saint Nick.
1. Call Santa on the phone
Free Conference Call, the website that lets you organize conference calls on the fly, will let you call “Santa” for free. Just dial (319) 527-2680. Santa will answer the phone, and then your child can leave a message detailing what they want for Christmas this year—or whatever else they want to share with the chief elf. If you call from a mobile phone, you’ll get a text message afterward so you can listen to or share your child’s message. The website also offers this service for a variety of countries and in different languages.
2. Talk to Santa with Amazon’s Alexa
“Alexa, talk to Santa Claus.”
Thanks to iHeartRadio, you can “speak” with a cheery, joking Santa Claus who can tell you guide you to a Christmasy music experience; iHeartRadio has a couple of options, including a North Pole Radio station hosted by Santa himself and the iHeartChristmas station. As of writing, recently played tracks include Michael Bublé’s “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow” and “You’re A Mean One” from the animated classic How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Since iHeartRadio is built into the Alexa experience, you don’t need to install a separate skill for these features to work.
3. Track Santa with NORAD on Alexa, iOS, or Android
If you install the NORAD Tracks Santa skill, you can check Santa’s progress in real-time as he delivers gifts across the globe this Christmas. Starting Dec. 24, you can ask, “Alexa, ask NORAD Tracks Santa, where’s Santa?” and you’ll get an update on his whereabouts. You can also ask when Santa will arrive at your house, and you can ask for a “fact” from the Santa Files.
Alternatively, you can download the NORAD Santa Tracker app on iOS or Android. In the app, you get a handy countdown timer to when Santa begins his gift giving flight, as well as fun games, holiday music, and information about NORAD.
4. Talk to Santa on Google Home
Google Home device owners can also talk to directly to the head elf. Just say “Hey Google, call Santa,” and you can. He’ll ask you a few different questions, and give you the option to listen to some Christmas tunes sung by himself and his elfin helpers. In the background of these interactions, you can also hear elves mumbling, which is a fun detail.
5. Visit Google’s Santa Tracker website
Google also has its own Santa Tracker. The interactive kid-friendly site features a number of different games and activities, one being unlocked each day, advent calendar-style. So far, this includes portals where you can learn about Christmas traditions and a coding lab where you can code a snowflake or program elves to boogie. You can also build your own elf jam band or watch animated videos. When the calendar of events and activities reaches Dec. 24, you’ll be able to use the site to track Santa’s location as he jets across the globe dropping off gifts.
Christina Bonnington is a tech reporter who specializes in consumer gadgets, apps, and the trends shaping the technology industry. Her work has also appeared in Gizmodo, Wired, Refinery29, Slate, Bicycling, and Outside Magazine. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has a background in electrical engineering.