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NORAD's Santa Tracker Will Still Run Despite Government Shutdown

25 December 2018

The Weather Authority tracks Santa on Christmas Eve with the help of satellites, and military sensors and technology from North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

In 1958, the governments of Canada and the United States created a bi-national air defence command for North America called NORAD which then took on the tradition of tracking Santa.

While waiting for Santa, users can play a number of different games in Santa's village or watch fun videos.

The decade's old tradition continues with over 1,500 military personnel and volunteers taking calls to inform on Santa's location.

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Santa fans can go to the NORAD Tracks Santa website as well as follow updates on its Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts. Hundreds of volunteers will help answer the phones again when the program resumes on Monday, Dec. 24, 2018, for the 63rd year. O'Shaughnessy, said he'll answer phones on Monday.

A joint Canadian-American venture, NORAD's day job is to provide air security and aerospace warning services.

The holiday tradition began 63 years ago in 1955 when an advertisement misprinted a telephone number for calling Santa.

For 60 years, NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) have tracked Santa's flight.

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As NPR reported, volunteers take two-hour shifts starting early on December 24 every year. New volunteers that come into the operation receive a playbook that instructs them how to answer questions that kids may ask. Big screens on the walls show a Santa icon making blistering progress around the globe. There are no National Basketball Association games, no NHL games, and the one NFL offering is a "Monday Night Football" matchup between the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos that you'll likely want to skip in favor of "It's A Wonderful Life" or "A Christmas Story". "There are Christmas carols in the background, everyone's very friendly, happy to be there".

In 2012, a child from Newtown, Connecticut, asked Santa if he could bring an extra toy for families who lost their children in the mass shooting that took place that year at Sandy Hook Elementary. Pat Koch calmly told her elves to write back that "Santa is absolutely hoping and praying for a cure for sickle cell anemia".

"One of the hardest parts about being married to Santa is that he always forgets to let me know where he is", Mrs. Claus said in a blog post.

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NORAD's Santa Tracker Will Still Run Despite Government Shutdown