LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Christmas is drawing near and with this week’s App of the Week you can track Santa Claus in real time as he makes his way to your neck of the woods.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, is a joint defense organization of the United States and Canada that provides aerospace warning, air sovereignty and protection for North America.

While NORAD did issue a report of Santa’s sleigh flying through their radar in 1948, it wasn’t until 1955 that tracking Santa became an annual event. According to legend, a Colorado Sears store advertising a direct phone line to Santa Claus misprinted the number, leading to calls coming in to NORAD’s predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD). Not wanting to disappoint children trying to reach Santa, the staff at CONAD went along with it and have been tracking Santa’s sleigh every Christmas since.

Over the years, a dedicated hotline has evolved into a website and now a mobile app. With the NORAD Santa Tracker app, parents and kids can keep an eye on Santa Claus all night to make sure he is on his way to a chimney near you.

In addition to following his sleigh around the globe, users can learn the history of Santa Claus and explore Christmas traditions from around the world while also learning more about the history and mission of NORAD. Users can also learn more about the history and traditions of Hanukkah, Ramadan and other celebrations.

The app also allows you to get in touch with NORAD by phone, so if you prefer to make a call to double check Santa’s progress you can do that too.

And, if you’re in the giving mood this holiday season, the Santa Tracker app can connect you with organizations that support military families and families in need.

The NORAD Santa Tracker app is a fun mix of science and holiday cheer, sure to make your season merry and bright.

NORAD Santa Tracker is available on iOS and Android devices.

If you have an app you think would make a good App of the Week, send it my way at wweible@whas11.com or reach me on twitter @WorldWideWeible.