NORAD still tracking Santa despite government shutdown

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump each speak on the phone sharing updates to track Santa's movements from the North American Aerospace Defense Command Santa Tracker on Christmas Eve Monday Dec. 24 2018

NORAD's Santa Tracker Promises to Continue Running Despite US Government Shutdown

The hundreds of volunteers will be working on Christmas Eve to track Santa Claus and to answer children's calls.

Yep, NORAD's Santa Tracker is back for its 63th year, continuing the tradition that started on accident on Christmas Eve in 1955.

Santa will zig zag his way up and down Australia, making sure to visit every child's house before departing Australian airspace as he heads towards our northern neighbours. In a 2018 twist, Pixel and Google Home devices will offer location updates whenever asked "Where is Santa?"

The folks at NORAD welcome Santa to their Colorado headquarters every year for practice runs.

Each year, NORAD's Tracks Santa website (can be accessed here) gets almost 9 million unique visitors from more than 200 countries and territories around the world.

It began tracking Santa when a child called the command's headquarters in Colorado asking to speak to Santa Claus.

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

Once we see the general area Santa is traveling through, we check in with NORAD to see if they have captured any images of Santa and the reindeer moving through these areas on their military cameras and sensors. New volunteers get a playbook that briefs them on the questions kids might ask.

"If I can get ahold of him, I'll try to get the message to him", volunteer, Sara Berghoff replied.

After NORAD was formed in 1958, it took over the Santa-tracking job.

NORAD's commander, Air Force Gen. Terrence J. First, a dialing sound can be heard, pretty much like calling in the phone, followed by an answering elf, which will then transfer the call to the big guy.

"I assume this committee can count on your commitment to continue that venerable tradition", Arkansas Republican Sen.

In addition to tracking St Nick, volunteers donning military garb and Santa hats also respond to tens of thousands of calls and emails from eager children hoping to probe for details including their Christmas wish lists.

The Santa Tracker for Christmas 2018 was launched on December 1.

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