Guest Author - Lynn McMonigal
For a small town (population approximately 500), Santa Claus, Indiana, sure has a lot of Christmas spirit! Located in Spencer County, the town chose its unique name in 1852. Local legend says the name was chosen after a child, excited to hear jingle bells on Christmas Eve, shouted, “It’s Santa Claus!” For 81 years, the town existed as a quiet community like any other in the area. Then, in 1933, the first Christmas themed attraction—a souvenir shop operated by Milton Harris, a man known for crafting decorative sleighs. Harris constructed a string of medieval-era buildings to house his business. Through the years, other toy and candy shops opened in the area, all with the same medieval-style architecture.
The Christmas theme just grew from there. Holiday World, a theme park dedicated to the holiday season, now is home to Santa’s Headquarters, an antique toy and doll museum, and a reindeer farm (and of course games and rides, including Raven and Legend, two of the largest wooden roller coasters in the country.) But that’s not all that will put you in the Christmas Spirit in this small town. One local park features a 22 foot tall statue of Santa himself. A stroll through the town will reveal locations such as Silver Bell Terrace, Snowflake Drive-In, Christmas Lake Village, and Sled Run. There is even a local newspaper called Santa’s Country. Some natural features of the area have even been given holiday-inspired names—such as Lake Rudolph, Lake Holly, and Lake Noel.
Have you ever written a letter to Santa Claus? Chances are, that letter was redirected to the post office in Santa Claus, Indiana. Each year, millions of letters and packages are sent to the post office here just for the special “Santa Claus, IN” postmark. The castle-like post office structure in this small town has become the most visited post office in America.
If you are planning to visit Santa Claus, Indiana, there are a few places you should be sure to see. The post office and Holiday World are near the top of that list. Other sights you won’t want to miss include Santa’s Candy Castle and the Santa Claus Museum and Village. If you like golfing, be sure to check out Christmas Lake Golf Course. For the kids, try out Frosty’s Fun Center, with a arcade, mini-golf, pizza, and ice cream.
Visiting in December? You won’t want to miss the largest campground LED light show in the country, Santa Claus Land of Lights. Be sure to check out the Christmas Celebration, which features Santa’s Great Big LED Tree of Lights, a spectacular light show that comes to life every hour during the weekend celebration.