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Christmas swims down the years from Co Down to Hampshire and beyond Close

Flashback - Christmas and New Year swims in Northern Ireland: Swimmers take the plunge in the annual New Year's Day swim at Carnlough harbour.

Flashback - Christmas and New Year swims in Northern Ireland: Swimmers take the plunge in the annual New Year's Day swim at Carnlough harbour.

Swimmers at the Whitley Bay New Year's Day Dip at the Panama Swimming Club's annual fundraising event at Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear.

Swimmers at the Whitley Bay New Year's Day Dip at the Panama Swimming Club's annual fundraising event at Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear.

PA

Sheena McCloskey, Rhonda McGurk and Sarah McMullan at a charity Christmas swim at Portrush East Strand beach in Co Antrim.

Sheena McCloskey, Rhonda McGurk and Sarah McMullan at a charity Christmas swim at Portrush East Strand beach in Co Antrim.

PA

Swimmers take to the Solent as they take part in the Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service Annual New Year's Day Swim in Gosport, Hampshire.

Swimmers take to the Solent as they take part in the Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service Annual New Year's Day Swim in Gosport, Hampshire.

PA

Flashback - Christmas and New Year swims in Northern Ireland: People at a charity Christmas swim at Portrush East Strand beach in Co Antrim. December 18, 2016.

Flashback - Christmas and New Year swims in Northern Ireland: People at a charity Christmas swim at Portrush East Strand beach in Co Antrim. December 18, 2016.

PA

Blaze and Jill Lambert  take the plunge at the annual New Year's Day swim at Carnlough harbour.

Blaze and Jill Lambert take the plunge at the annual New Year's Day swim at Carnlough harbour.

Swimmers take to the Solent as they take part in the Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service Annual New Year's Day Swim in Gosport, Hampshire.

Swimmers take to the Solent as they take part in the Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service Annual New Year's Day Swim in Gosport, Hampshire.

PA

People race into the sea at Barry Island, near Cardiff in Wales, where the annual New Year's Day swim is taking place. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday January 1, 2016. See PA story SOCIAL NewYear Swims. Photo credit should read: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

People race into the sea at Barry Island, near Cardiff in Wales, where the annual New Year's Day swim is taking place. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday January 1, 2016. See PA story SOCIAL NewYear Swims. Photo credit should read: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

PA

Swimmers at the Whitley Bay New Year's Day Dip at the Panama Swimming Club's annual fundraising event at Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday January 1, 2015. See PA story SOCIAL NewYear. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Swimmers at the Whitley Bay New Year's Day Dip at the Panama Swimming Club's annual fundraising event at Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday January 1, 2015. See PA story SOCIAL NewYear. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

PA

People splash around in the sea at Barry Island, near Cardiff in Wales, where the annual New Year's Day swim is taking place. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday January 1, 2016. See PA story SOCIAL NewYear Swims. Photo credit should read: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

People splash around in the sea at Barry Island, near Cardiff in Wales, where the annual New Year's Day swim is taking place. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday January 1, 2016. See PA story SOCIAL NewYear Swims. Photo credit should read: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

PA

 Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 1st January 2016
Photograph:Presseye /Stephen Hamilton

Swimmers take the plunge in the annual New Year's Day swim at Carnlough harbour.

Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 1st January 2016 Photograph:Presseye /Stephen Hamilton Swimmers take the plunge in the annual New Year's Day swim at Carnlough harbour.

Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus New Year's Day swim at Carnlough Harbour
Josh McCrory from Ballymena appears to be walking on water as he takes the plunge

Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus New Year's Day swim at Carnlough Harbour Josh McCrory from Ballymena appears to be walking on water as he takes the plunge

People at a charity Christmas swim at Portrush East Strand beach in Co Antrim.

People at a charity Christmas swim at Portrush East Strand beach in Co Antrim.

PA

People at a charity Christmas swim at Portrush East Strand beach in Co Antrim. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 18, 2016. Photo credit should read: Steven McAuley/PA Wire

People at a charity Christmas swim at Portrush East Strand beach in Co Antrim. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 18, 2016. Photo credit should read: Steven McAuley/PA Wire

PA

People at a charity Christmas swim at Portrush East Strand beach in Co Antrim. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 18, 2016. Photo credit should read: Steven McAuley/PA Wire

People at a charity Christmas swim at Portrush East Strand beach in Co Antrim. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 18, 2016. Photo credit should read: Steven McAuley/PA Wire

PA

Jonathan Boyd at a charity Christmas swim at Portrush East Strand beach in Co Antrim. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 18, 2016. Photo credit should read: Steven McAuley/PA Wire

Jonathan Boyd at a charity Christmas swim at Portrush East Strand beach in Co Antrim. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 18, 2016. Photo credit should read: Steven McAuley/PA Wire

PA

Disguised people take part in the 78th "Coupe de Noel" (Christmas cup) swimming race in the Lake Geneva, on December 18, 2016 in Geneva. 
More than 1800 participants took part in the event, a 12-meter-long swimming off the Geneva's bank in the 7 degrees Celsius cold water. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINIFABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

Disguised people take part in the 78th "Coupe de Noel" (Christmas cup) swimming race in the Lake Geneva, on December 18, 2016 in Geneva. More than 1800 participants took part in the event, a 12-meter-long swimming off the Geneva's bank in the 7 degrees Celsius cold water. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINIFABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

LANKE, GERMANY - DECEMBER 18:  Festive ice swimmers dressed in Christmas-themed gear step into Obersee Lake during their annual pre-Christmas swim on December 18, 2016 in Lanke, Germany. This year temperatures remained above freezing. According to eyewitnesses the last time the swimmers actually had to tredge trhough snow and ice was five or six years ago.  (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

LANKE, GERMANY - DECEMBER 18: Festive ice swimmers dressed in Christmas-themed gear step into Obersee Lake during their annual pre-Christmas swim on December 18, 2016 in Lanke, Germany. This year temperatures remained above freezing. According to eyewitnesses the last time the swimmers actually had to tredge trhough snow and ice was five or six years ago. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Getty Images

People at a charity Christmas swim at Portrush East Strand beach in Co Antrim. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 18, 2016. Photo credit should read: Steven McAuley/PA Wire

People at a charity Christmas swim at Portrush East Strand beach in Co Antrim. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 18, 2016. Photo credit should read: Steven McAuley/PA Wire

PA

Flashback - Christmas and New Year swims in Northern Ireland: Swimmers take the plunge in the annual New Year's Day swim at Carnlough harbour.

Follow Santa Claus on his globe-trotting circuit from pole to pole - delivering pressies to every home from New York and London to Belfast and Rio. Find out when he will be at your home with one of our Santa trackers.

While preparing for the epic journey Father Christmas issued a reminder to children all around the world to hit the sack early and remember to hang out your stockings. Most important of all - no getting out of bed if you hear bells jingling or hooves tapping.

The Santa Tracker programme began when on December 24 1955 a Sears department store placed an advert in a a Colorado Springs newspaper which invited young readers to contact Santa.

Unfortunately they printed the wrong number, directing people instead to the number for Colorado Springs' Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Centre.

>>Check out if you are on the Naughty or Nice list - click here<<

The colonel who was on duty that night - Harry Shoup - instructed his staff to give all the children who called a "current location" for Santa Claus, and hence the tradition began. It continued when Norad replaced Conad in 1958.

Microsoft and Norad, as well as Google, are offering Santa trackers this year.

Google’s site, which allows children to learn to code while they are waiting, has been overhauled this year. It includes special illustrations and games that allow children to take part in colouring in challenges or dress up elves.

The map also allows children to track different holiday traditions around the world.

Google’s tracker is available on its own website, and has an Android app. The site and app will keep getting updated through the month, as Christmas approaches.

The Norad tracker is this year marking the 60th year that the US Department of Defense organisation has been tracking Santa. The service began on the phone but has since moved to a slick website that is built with Microsoft.

The tracking will begin in the early morning of 24 December, at the Norad site, but it is already showing a countdown and other information. The Norad site will start streaming videos then as well as allowing people to watch Santa as he flies around the world.

In the US, people can call into a number to get more information about where Santa is, or email noradtrackssanta@outlook.com, in a process akin to the phone call that began the system 60 years ago.

The site is available in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Chinese.

 

And here are some seasonal jokes

What does Santa say to the toys on Christmas Eve?

Okay everyone, sack time!

Why does Santa like to work in his garden?

Because he likes to hoe, hoe, hoe!

What do you call a kitty on the beach on Christmas morning?

Sandy Claws!

Who delivers presents to dentist offices?

Santa Jaws!

Who delivers Christmas presents to elephants?

Elephanta Claus!

What do you get if Santa comes down the chimney while the fire is still burning?

Crisp Kringle!

Why does St. Nicholas have a white beard?

So he can hide at the North Pole!

What do you call Santa when he has no money?

Saint "Nickel"-less!

What smells most in a chimney?

Santa's nose!

What does Kris Kringle like to get when he goes to the donut shop?

A jolly roll!

What do you call someone who doesn't believe in Father Christmas?

A rebel without a Claus!

What is invisible but smells like milk and cookies?

Kris Kringle burps!

Belfast Telegraph