Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Blast from the Past - Christmas trivia

This was first posted last December as part of my now-defunct Walkabout Wednesday series. I'm repeating it because (1) it's neat Christmas trivia and (2) I'm without internet service [using my apartment's business center to do this and can't tie up the computer for long] and I need a blog for today. So bear with me and enjoy the rerun.

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 named 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. I just got back from a weekend trip with two friends. The trip included a day at Stone Mountain which is decorated with millions of lights for the holidays including a tree atop the mountain itself.


alinaduffer said...

Good Morning! While I live in Indiana we still haven't been to Santa Clause, IN yet. Maybe we will try to go next year. I grew up in a small mountain town in southern California called Running Springs. Most People dont know Springs but most have heard of Big Bear or Lake Arrowhead, the two bigger towns on the mountain. Anyways growing up their was a small amusement park called Santa's Villiage. Most teenager's who grew up on the mountain worked there at least one year. They had real reindeer you could pet and Santa was always in his house to take pictures with kids. They closed it down my freshman year of high school. It was very sad. So thats as close as I have been to it all.

Have a great day and a Wonderful Christmas!!!

Angel said...

Yikes! Quiet day on the blog. Everyone must be getting ready for Christmas, like me. My kids got out of school today. Fingers crossed they behave, at least until Christmas. :)

These are totally cool places! I'd love to visit, especially during the Christmas season. I think that would be magical. I also enjoy visiting places that are decorated for holidays, like when we went to Disney World right before Halloween. I bet it is beautiful at Christmas.

One of these days I'm going to get over to see the Biltmore. I bet that when it is decked out for Christmas it is absolutely gorgeous.


WV: ovensoc
I hope this doesn't mean I'm getting an oven mitt in my stocking...