At Least the Government Shutdown Won't Cancel Santa

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Its a long-standing tradition at News4Jax, beginning with George Winterling tracking Santa's location using satellites and updates from NORAD.

It can be noted that this is 63-years tradition of NORAD to help children track St. Nick's journey during the Christmas Eve. But that number was a misprint: It actually routed children to the director of operations at a Colorado Springs facility of NORAD's predecessor organization, CONAD (Continental Air Defense Command).

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. Meanwhile big screens on the walls show Santa's progress around the globe as US and Canadian officers do live TV interviews from the phone rooms.

Military personnel were quick to catch on to the mistake, but instead of disappointing their hopeful young callers, they fielded hundreds of phone calls and reassured the children that they were keeping an eye on Santa's whereabouts.

The online tracker plays Christmas tracks while reindeer pull a sleigh over images of the Earth provided by NASA, accompanied by his last stop and ETA on the next one.

There are 160 phones to handle the calls and new volunteers get a help book which lets them know what kind of questions children may ask.

Speaking from Leinster House today, Mr Ross said there would be "no obstacle" to Santa "entering Irish air space as soon as it gets dark this Christmas Eve".

"I think she wanted Santa to be quiet and not wake her up", she said.

Sometimes the volunteers have to handle the unexpected.

In his annual Christmas message, Trudeau said Monday the winter season, as cold and dark as it may be, is about bringing light into the lives of others.

"Yes sir, especially since my son Sam would want to see that as well", General O'Shaughnessy replied.

After NORAD was founded in 1958, the military headquarters made it their duty to keep the public informed about Santa's location.

Since that time, NORAD men, women, family and friends have selflessly volunteered their time to personally respond to phone calls and emails from children all around the world.

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