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Across the United States, the holiday season is sweeping the nation. The big day is not here yet but decorations have been up since Halloween ended. Heck, some people have probably been getting ready since last Christmas. It’s a significant time for humans, sure, but there are towns that celebrate Christmas year round. Can you imagine? Joy and candy canes and goodwill year round? 
The following cities have a lot in common from their post office-branded beginnings to their Christmas themes. But some do the holiday better and longer than others.
Santa Claus, GA
Right here in Georgia is a little Christmas safe haven: Santa Claus, GA. It’s essentially a city where everyone, every day celebrates the spirit of Christmas. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know the city existed; it’s way down in Toombs County near a city called Lyon. Incorporated as a city in 1941, Santa Claus, GA is tiny yet as lively with the spirit of Kris Kringle himself. The US Census Bureau reports that the city has a total area of 0.2 square miles. And, as of a 2015 census, only 166 people live there. Streets have cutesy holiday themed names like Dancer St., Rudolph Way, and Dasher St. They even have a little business called the Santa Claus Mini Mart where one can only assume they sell hot cocoa and candy canes.

Santa Claus, IN

Not to be confused with Santa Claus, GA (although this writer did make that mistake), Santa Claus, Indiana is just as Christmas themed as its counterpart. While larger, -- the population estimate for July 2015 is 2,474 -- Santa Claus, Indiana is much less manufactured than its counterpart. For instance, the city is said to have been developed under the name Santa Fe. When the city applied for a post office, their application came back with the message “Choose some name other than Santa Fe.” All these years later they refer to themselves as “America’s Christmas Hometown.” And they really take pride in the whole theme. I called the Santa Claus, IN visitor’s bureau and asked a few questions about the town. The woman on the phone told me about the attractions in the city like a Christmas Lake golf course and the Christmas celebration (a three weekend long family fun festival). Then she dropped a bomb on me: the real Santa Claus lives right there in Santa Claus, IN. He is not an impersonator nor does he dress up as Santa. This is the real life Santa. He works at the Santa Claus Christmas Store (from May to December), taking pictures with all the little girls and boys. Santa is real and I cannot believe it guys. But he’s not available for interviews. 

Santa Claus, AZ
Population: 0

As lively as the last two cities are, Arizona’s Santa Claus town is more on the dead side of things. Actually, it’s a ghost town. Measuring about four acres, Santa Claus, AZ was founded by Nina Talbot and her husband in the 1930’s. NIna was a real estate agent hoping to attract buyers to the desert area that surrounded Santa Claus. All of the buildings are Christmas themed. The idea was to have Christmas year round where children could see Santa any time. It worked for a while but no one bought land so no one ever moved there. The story is fascinating and you can read it on Atlas Obscura.

Noel, MO

Situated in the bottom corner of Missouri, Noel is a city that was started C.W. and W.J. Noel. It took a few years but the city eventually took advantage of its Christmas-themed name. The truth is the name is pronounced “nŌl” but at Christmas it takes on the pronunciation of “nōˈel.” The city is known as “The Christmas City in the Ozark Vacation Land.” Sadly, Noel is not a year round Christmas community; it’s a canoing spot. Since it’s located in the four corners of the Southwest, Noel is in a prime location for float trips on the Elk River. 

Bethlehem, PA
Population: 74,892

Pennsylvania's Bethlehem gladly utilizes its namesake to the fullest. On Christmas Eve 1741, a group of Moravians founded the mission community in the then colony of Pennsylvania. Bethlehem was established as a nod to the Biblical town of the same name in Judea which is the birthplace of Jesus. Then in 1937, the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce adopted the “Christmas City, USA” nickname after a mid-Great Depression Christmas celebration yielded a special tree star. After a small bump that was World War II (during which none of the town's Christmas decorations were lit due to bombing fears), Bethlehem lit its massive new steel star. It can be seen from over 20 miles. All year long, the town celebrates their favorite holiday.

North Pole, New York

The city that never sleeps looks to be accompanied by the city where Santa makes toys. North Pole, New York is the unofficial “Home of Santa’s Workshop” (remember: Santa Claus, AZ has the real Santa). But North Pole is more than a city; it’s a theme park in and of itself. Visitors can head to hit attractions like Jack Jingle Theater for a puppet show or Needle and Thread Shop for cool white letters on red hats. Santa’s Workshop is essentially a storybook village for the little ones. And they’re open every single day.

North Pole, AK

Closer to the real North Pole (or the fictionalized one humanity created) in terms of climate, North Pole, Alaska is a major tourist trap. The biggest attraction is a gift shop called the Santa Claus House which is an homage to the post office that started alongside the town. It’s also known for the world’s largest fiberglass statue of the man in red himself. North Pole also has Christmas-themed streets like Snowman Lane. The origin story of the town is a little on the long side but the bullet points include that it was founded in 1944 by Bob and Bernice Davis; changed its name from “Davis” to “North Pole” in 1949; and became incorporated in 1953. Now they hold a Winter Festival that is not unlike any other celebration save for the Christmas based events.   

Santa’s Workshop in Colorado
Population: 0

It’s not a city but deserves a mention. Santa’s Workshop is yet another theme park with Christmas on its mind. Visitors can meet with Santa and his elves where they can take “digital pictures” with them or take a ride on a Christmas tree. And, for some reason, they can also ride the Enterprise Space Shuttle. Actually, there are a lot of non-Christmas rides there. 

Christmas Town, Nightmare Before

And let’s not forget arguably the best Christmas Town. This holiday themed town is based only on Christmas. The town is adorned with pretty lights, candy cane colored poles, and snow people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Closer to the holiday itself, little elves sing in the streets and ride polar bears to and from their destinations. The town was first brought into the mainstream by Jack Skellington -- the scariest Halloween figure in the known universe. He stumbled upon a tree painted with a Christmas tree door that led to the land. He tried to bring the idea of Christmas back to his people but they dejected it almost immediately. Then Jack tried to play Santa, the real Santa was kidnapped, a scientist tried to kill his daughter and a bunch of other stuff happened. They should really make that into a movie. 

And there you have it. A collection of all the Christmas named cities in the United States. With the big day right around the corner, visiting any one of these towns and attractions would be a nice diversion. Family traditions are nice but spicing things up a bit could help with the eventual frustrations that come with any holiday. 

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