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LIVE: Santa Tracker

Merry Christmas!

He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you're awake, but do you know where he is?

NOTE: The government may be partially shut down, but that hasn't stopped hundreds of volunteers dressed in Christmas hats and military uniforms from taking calls from children around the world who want to know when Santa will be coming.

Thanks to the help of NORAD, you can track Santa's progress around the globe as he delivers presents to all the good boys and girls.

Starting at 5 p.m. eastern time on Christmas Eve, children all around the world can call the Santa tracking hotline at 1-877-HI-NORAD to speak with NORAD Santa tracking experts. These experts use Santa certified radar, satellites, jets, and cameras positioned in strategic locations around the world to inform callers of Santa's whereabouts. Don't want to call -- don't worry. CLICK HERE to visit the online Santa tracker...

Kiddos waiting to track the man in red can check out NORAD's website and virtually visit the North Pole, play games, watch movies, and even listen to Christmas music.

Santa's progress can also be seen through Christmas Eve on Twitter...

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.

"It really gets you into the Christmas spirit," said Hill, a student at Mississippi State University who got involved through Air Force family members stationed in Colorado Springs.

"There are Christmas carols in the background, everyone's very friendly, happy to be there," she said.

One year, she took a call from a boy who began reading a very long Christmas list. "I remember having to cut him off after the 10th present or so," she said, explaining to him that she had to take calls from other children.

A girl told Hill she wanted to warn Santa not to bump into a bell hanging on her door. "I think she wanted Santa to be quiet and not wake her up," Hill said.

Sometimes the volunteers have to handle the unexpected. In 2012, a child from Newtown, Connecticut, asked if Santa could bring extra toys for families who lost children in the mass shooting that year at Sandy Hook Elementary.

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

NORAD's commander, Air Force Gen. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy, will also take a turn answering the phones Monday.

"This is my first NORAD Tracks Santa," said O'Shaughnessy, who took command in May. "I'm really excited."

O'Shaughnessy was even asked about the program during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in April to confirm him as NORAD chief.

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

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










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