Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Walkabout Wednesday: Survey Says...!

I thought it would be fun to have this month's Walkabout Wednesday revolve around places with Christmas names. As you can see from the photo to the left, there's a place called North Pole, Alaska, and I bought this ornament at the Santa Claus House there.

But North Pole, Alaska is not the only Christmas-named place in the US. The US Geological survey says there are:

* 142 places named Christmas
* 260 names Joy
* 11 places in 8 states named Santa Claus (they are in Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon and Ohio)
* 963 Holly names
* 51 Noel names
* 5 Menorah names (okay, that's not Christmas, but it's a December religious holiday)
* 34 reindeer place names (and 27 are in Alaska)
* 22 states with places named Rudolph
* 24 North Poles
* 24 Mistletoes
* 5 Poinsettias
* 1 Wreath

And here are some factoids about places:

* Between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2007, the postmaster of Noel, Missouri processed 30.428 Christmas cards, which was double the usual volume of mail for this town

* Christmas, Florida, which is located between Orlando and the Kennedy Space Center, has a special mailbox to accept letters for Santa. They are handled by volunteers. All the streets in this town are named for reindeer.

* Santa Claus, Indiana is home to the Santa Claus Museum, Santa's Candy Castle and Santa's Lodge. The Candy Castle dates from 1935, but has modern technology and a webcam to the North Pole where kids can chat with an elf and verbally submit their wish list. You can't visit? Then go to to play. The town also has quite the competitive spirit with a fruitcake eating contest and a fastest gift wrapping event.

* Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is called "Christmas City." It hosts a Christkindlmarkt like the ones in Germany and was given its name on Christmas Eve 1741 by Moravian immigrants. This year they're hosting something brand new -- the Peeps Fest! You can learn more at

* North Pole, Alaska is 12 miles from Fairbanks and was named in 1953. The North Pole Christmas in Ice Festival features ice sculpting contests and you can take a peek at The Santa Claus House, where I bought my ornament, has a gift shop, Santa himself and real reindeer.

And speaking of reindeer, our very own Huntsville, Alabama is home to Reindeer, Inc., a company that's been exhibiting reindeer since 1980. They've had as many as 75 in the herd at times, and because Alabama summers are way hotter than a reindeer's usual environment, they are kept in air-conditioned barns. If you've seen the movie "Prancer" then you've seen one of Reindeer, Inc.'s animals. They've also appeared in a Mariah Carey video. Mostly, however, they appear locally to entertain kids at Christmas.

Have you been to the North Pole? Santa Claus, Florida? Have you ever petted a real reindeer? Share your Christmas place adventures with us today.


Minna said...

North Pole? Santa lives in Lapland, Finland! And yes, I have petted a reindeer in Lapland.

Problem Child said...

PM and her mad Google skillz...

As long as these places only get into the spirit once a year...I hope they don't embrace the holiday all year long. That would get very annoying, I'd think...

Playground Monitor said...

Ah, yes. Lapland. The reindeer don't need air conditioned barns there.

I've only been to North Pole, Alaska and the Santa Claus House stays in the spirit all year. I'm sure the 8 ft. turkey melts about mid-May along with everything else. The rest? I don't know.

And yeah... gotta love Google. I started working on this months ago when we decided to do theme week. ::grin::

Virginia said...

Sorry I have never been to these places and I have never petted a reindeer! (cry)

Sherry Werth said...

Interesting blog PM. Never visited any of the places you mentioned and I also had no idea we had reindeer in AL!

Smarty Pants said...

I've seen those reindeer at the mall. They come out like one day a year and I always manage to try running in quickly for something on that day. My luck. Don't think I've ever pet one, though. Maybe at a petting zoo at some point.

Instigator said...

You know, we haven't taken the kids to see the reindeer yet. Every year we mean to and just don't seem to make it over there. This year isn't looking so great either.


Angel said...

I think those reindeer also show up at the annual Christmas village, don't they?

Very cool, PM! We could have our own Christmas themed romance with a heroine who wants to keep the family business open year-round and the Scrooge (I mean, hero) on the city council determined to shut her down. Hey, that sounds like a Lifetime movie!


Smarty Pants said...

I actually think that IS a movie on the Hallmark channel - Moonlight and Mistletoe - about a girl trying to keep her family's christmas theme park open with the big bad developer trying to close it. Has Candace Cameron in it. :)

Minna said...

Minna said...

There's this Finnish (well, Finland+few other countries, really) animation about Rudolph's son:

Niko and the Way to the Stars:

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this posting...I never knew....

I haven't had an opportunity to 'pet' a reindeer...or visit any of the forementioned places (at least not yet)


Playground Monitor said...

I taped that Hallmark movie! I'll let you know if they used your scenario after I watch it.

And thanks for those links, Minna. That Santa has a fabulous beard!

And yes, the reindeer are at Santa's Village in downtown Huntsville in Constitution Hall Park.

Paula Werne, Holiday World said...

I'm posting from Santa Claus, Indiana!

We're the only Santa Claus with a post office; each year we have a special hand-stamp pictorial postmark available. Also, children may write to Santa at Santa Claus, PO Box 1, Santa Claus, Indiana 47579 and as long as they include a return address, they'll receive a personal reply from St. Nick!

Santa Claus, Indiana, is also home to the world's first theme park. Santa Claus Land opened in 1946 and is now called Holiday World (including a Christmas-themed section

Santa Claus is a tiny town with a big heart.

Merry Christmas to all!

Playground Monitor said...

How cool is that? Someone from Santa Claus, Indiana commented!

Thanks, Paula, for dropping by.

Instigator said...

That is very cool. Welcome, Paula! I now want to visit Santa Claus, Indiana.