Santa tracker 2018: NORAD continues tradition despite government shutdown

COLORADO -- If the Grinch can't steal Christmas, neither can a government shutdown: It will NOT get in the way of the military's 63-year-old tradition of tracking Santa Claus.

NORAD, the branch of the military that tracks Mr. Claus every year from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, said it will still be on the job. The tradition began more than 50 years ago when the wrong number was printed in a newspaper.

NORAD - a joint U.S.-Canadian operation based in Colorado Springs that protects the skies over both countries - has taken over the Santa tracker since the tradition started. The military command center embraced and expanded the Santa-tracking mission and has been rewarded with a bounty of goodwill and good publicity.

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NORAD has been tracking Santa on Christmas Eve for 63 years with the help of approximately 1,500 volunteers.

Last year, NORAD Tracks Santa drew 126,000 phone calls, 18 million website hits, 1.8 million followers on Facebook and 179,000 more on Twitter.

It takes 160 phones to handle the calls that pour in. New volunteers get a playbook that briefs them on the questions kids might ask. Big screens on the walls show a Santa icon making blistering progress around the globe. U.S. and Canadian officers do live TV interviews from the phone rooms.

Click here to visit NORAD's website.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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