But word came from the federal government that Indiana already had a town with the same name, so there would be no post office unless a new name was declared. The town gathered at the 1852 Christmas Eve service to discuss a new town name; suddenly, the church door blew open, and the sound of sleigh bells was heard. The adults were shocked, as there was no one outside; however, the children screamed with excitement, “It’s Santa Claus!” That is what they say, it is the legend of how Sante Fe became Santa Claus, Indiana. But no matter how it happen, it is a real place with a Post Office.
The town has a population of about 2,500 and reflects the Christmas spirit all year round. There is Christmas Lake, Santa Claus Hardware, St. Nick’s Restaurant, Lake Rudolph Campground and Santa’s Lodge. The streets are named accordingly: Silver Bell Terrace, Candy Cane Lane and Prancer Drive, just to name a few.
It is Christmas all year with the Holiday World Theme Park and Splashin’ Safari Water Park open in the summer, but as you can imagine, it is beyond festive in the winter. Enjoy breakfast with Santa, and visit the Santa Claus Museum… it’s free! Stop by Santa’s Candy Castle for old-fashioned candies, plus hundreds of Pez dispensers and chestnuts roasting on an open fire. There is even a ‘Toy Test” area where kids of all ages are encouraged to play while browsing what’s new and fun at Santa’s Toys.
The holiday season brings the annual Santa Claus Parade and the Santa Claus Land of Lights at Lake Rudolph. Special storytelling happens at the historic 1880 church, and everyone is encouraged to write a letter to Santa. As the only “Santa Claus Post Office” in the world, a different picture postmark is used annually, designed by a local high school student, a tradition since 1983.
Special events and holiday traditions take over the town and provide a very merry getaway, from festive shopping to cozy lodging. It’s a trip of a lifetime for any age and the perfect family holiday memory. Visit santaclausind.org for more information!
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