North Pole (KROC AM News) -  Santa Claus has started his trek around the world to bring happiness and joy to millions of kids.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command - better known as NORAD - is once again offering its services for kids who want to track the jolly old fellow. This is the 60th year the agency has offered this service.  

The tradition began after a newspaper ad invited children to call Santa Claus.  But the number happened to be the main line to the agency that was the predecessor to NORAD. Rather than hang up on the kids, officials told them they knew where Santa was at all times.  And so the special service was born.

NORAD says Santa usually starts in the South Pacific and hits New Zealand and Australia before heading to Japan and Asia. Africa and Europe are next, followed by North America and South America.

The NORAD TracksSanta website features Santa’s North Pole Village, which includes a holiday countdown, games, activities, and more. The website is available in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Chinese.

Official NORAD Tracks Santa apps are also available in the Windows, Apple and Google Play stores, so parents and children can count down the days until Santa’s launch on their smartphones and tablets! Tracking opportunities are also offered on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+. Santa followers just need to type “@noradsanta” into each search engine to get started.

Also new this year, the website features the NORAD Headquarters in the North Pole Village, and highlights of the program over the past 60 years.

NORAD’s “Santa Cams” will stream videos on the website as Santa makes his way over various locations. Trackers worldwide can speak with a live phone operator to inquire as to Santa’s whereabouts by dialing the toll-free number 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) or by sending an email to noradtrackssanta@outlook.com.

Any time on Dec. 24, Windows Phone users can ask Cortana for Santa’s location, and OnStar subscribers can press the OnStar button in their vehicles to locate Santa.

NORAD Tracks Santa is truly a global experience, delighting generations of families everywhere. This is due, in large part, to the efforts and services of numerous program contributors.