Santa Claus and his reindeer made their annual Christmas Eve trip on a sleigh loaded with billions of gifts for boys and girls around the world.

Santa made his final stop at the Midway Atoll in the Pacific Ocean early Christmas Day before heading home to the North Pole.

He delivered more than 7.2 billion gifts by the end of the evening.

The North American Aerospace Defence Command (Norad), which is responsible for joint air and maritime defence in Canada and the U.S., tracks Santa with a combination of radar, satellites, cameras and fighter jets.

Santa took off from the North Pole at around 6 a.m. ET on Wednesday with Rudolph's red nose guiding the way.

With files from Reuters