Good news - regardless of how a government shutdown may affect things, you'll be able to track Santa via NORAD again this year.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the North American Aerospace Defense Command will have volunteers on duty this year taking calls from children wanting updates on Kris Kringle's progress around the globe.

The story of NORAD began in 1957 as a means of tracking potential dangers that might threaten our nation via the air. In addition they have also played a role in tracking natural threats such as hurricanes.

The Santa Claus connection actually begins two years before that when a colonel picked up the phone at the headquarters at NORAD predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command in Colorado Springs.

At the other end of the phone was not a general or the president, but a child, wanting to speak with Santa Claus. It seems a local newspaper had run an ad inviting kids to call Santa but mistakenly listed the command's hotline number.

The compassionate colonel played along, and so was born a holiday tradition.

As the tribune writes, "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 (see the links below)."

Reach out to NORAD this Christmas Eve at 1-877-HI-NORAD. Go here for the website. And Merry Christmas to all!

NORAD tracks Santa on Facebook

NORAD tracks Santa on Twitter

[Sources: NORAD, Chicago Tribune]