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.
The joint U.S.-Canadian operation based in Colorado Springs protects the skies over both countries, and it taken over the Santa tracker since the tradition started.
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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.