With just 10 days, 16 hours, 20 minutes, and 25 seconds until Christmas as of typing this – yes, my son is counting, it’s totally not me – Google’s Santa Tracker is a great way to get your kids (or yourself) into the holiday spirit. It features fun games and activities like performing a Wrap Battle and teaching your kids to code or Code Boogie, and often houses several Christmas themed use-cases for many Google services.
This year, Mr. and Mrs. Claus can be seen across the site wearing face masks in order to practice COVID safety. What’s a bit odd is that none of the elves are wearing masks and they’re in closer proximity to one another than anyone! You can almost argue that their semi-circle smiles can be seen as masks, but there are no strings attaching them to their ears like they are with Santa and his better half and some elves even have different mouth shapes or upside down angry faces too.
The Santa Tracker began in 2004 as a simple way to track Santa Claus across the globe on Christmas Eve using Google Maps and evolved over the years into a full-blown website that has enough holiday cheer to light up anyone’s face. I mean, there’s so much to explore as you seemingly never stop scrolling down the site and everything is so well executed too. While it’s most certainly a way for Google to advertise their services, the animation quality of some of the modules alone is just them slightly flexing. As you scroll down the page, it’s almost like you’re entering different rooms in the North Pole as each one has a different theme, its own visuals, and sounds. My son’s favorite game so far is Santa Selfie, where you get to shave Santa’s beard and hair (or magically put it back on) and hang ornaments from them as well.
If you turn your Santa Tracker into a shortcut on your Chromebook, you’ll notice that the icon is of Santa wearing a face mask as well, which I thought was a nice touch – better safe than sorry, even in the minutia, right? Wait a minute…does placing the Santa tracker on your Chromebook shelf count as putting an “elf on the shelf?” Well, it depends on who you ask.
If you’re interested in showing your kids the Santa Tracker in order to add a bit of cheer to the end of a pretty terrible year, you should first check out Google’s Family Guide as a leaping off point. It has tips and tricks for Christmas-themed Assistant and Family Link activities and each of them is a lot of fun!
Don’t forget that you can still have your children call Santa using Google Assistant too! It’s even cooler if you perform this action on your Nest Hub, trust me. Have you and your family checked out the Santa Tracker this year? Did you know that someone has created a full Youtube channel dedicated to the tracker’s games and activities and even hosts a live stream each Christmas Eve to track Santa? Let us know in the comments section and Merry early Christmas!