Can you imagine living in a town where it’s Christmas all year-round? From coincidental names like Garland and Snowflake, to more over-the-top holiday tributes (like the town that literally changed its name to a Secret Santa website), towns across the country are more than happy to embrace their wintry names—regardless of season or climate.
Using information from the United States Census Bureau, Stacker found 29 cities and towns across America whose names embody the spirit of Christmas. Some towns take the festivities more seriously than others— think Christmas-themed streets, year-round yuletide attractions, and huge holiday markets—while others reflect on the story behind the season. Let’s take a virtual sleigh ride as we get to know these festively named locations, and the different ways they celebrate.
Nestled in New York's Adirondack Mountains, North Pole is a small town that pulls out all the stops for Christmas. It’s the home of Santa’s Workshop (one of the first American theme parks), open year-round for visitors craving holiday magic. Naturally, the festivities peak in December—and this charming destination holds special family weekends and events throughout the month.
Founding Date: 1960
Located in the center of Wisconsin, the town of Rudolph was not originally named after the reindeer, but rather for a boy who was born there. The red-nosed holiday icon is still very important to the town: he’s featured on a stamp and postmark at the city’s post office, and in a year-round window display at the Fisher Antique Store. The town also features the annual “Rudolph Country Christmas” event, which pays tribute to the most famous reindeer of all.
Founding Date: 1953
Along the Tanana River lies the city of North Pole, Alaska—named by the Dahl and Gaske Development Company in the hopes of attracting holiday business. Today, the city features Christmas-themed streets (Santa Claus Lane, for example), a Santa-inspired house, candy cane street lights, and an annual Winter Festival.
Founding Date: 1741
About two hours north of Philadelphia, the city of Bethlehem refers to itself as “Christmas City, USA.” Originally a Moravian settlement, the community was given the name Bethlehem on Christmas Eve of its first year in existence. The town pays tribute to its German roots with its annual Christkindlmarkt, a European-inspired Christmas market recognized twice by Travel + Leisure as one of the best in the country.
Founding Date: 1765
Located on Maine’s mid-coast, the small town of Christmas Cove was believed to be named for John Smith’s landing there in December of 1614 (although there is some speculation to the historical accuracy). Despite its winter-themed moniker, Christmas Cove is actually most popular in the summer months—it’s a prime yachting destination.
The small town of Noel is located in the southwest corner of Missouri. It got the nickname “Christmas City” after its special holiday postmark, proposed by the town’s postmaster in the 1930s. The tradition has grown over the decades, and now, tens of thousands of people continue to send season’s greetings through the town each year.
The community of Christmas can be found on the upper peninsula of Michigan, and was given its name by a factory owner. Every single business in town is committed to the Santa Claus theme, including the nearby Yule Log Resort (located, naturally, on Candy Cane Lane).
Depending on your opinion of this often-polarizing holiday beverage, the name of this community will delight or disgust you. Eggnog, Utah is located in Garfield County, and is believed to be named for the eggnog served to stockmen.
Located at the southern end of Georgia, the town of Dasher was not named after one of Santa’s reindeer, but rather the Daescher family who settled on the land. Regardless, the town celebrates the holiday with traditional festivities like Christmas caroling.
The coastal city of St. Marys lies near the Georgia-Florida state line and gets its name from the St. Marys River. You probably won’t see snowflakes in this temperate southern locale, but you can still get into the spirit of the season. Their annual Christmas in the Park event is held on the water and features a trolley that hands out stockings to children.
The suburban city of Mount Holly lies a bit west of Charlotte, North Carolina. Even though it was originally named for the Mount Holly Cotton Mill, residents certainly know how to get jolly. Residents celebrate with an annual Christmas parade and the “Santa at the Grand Hall” event.
Mostly made up of the Wintergreen Resort, this snowy-sounding town is located in central Virginia. During the holiday season, this destination offers events like "Santa on the Slopes," crafting workshops, and story time with Mrs. Claus.
Founding Date: 1878
The small town of Snowflake is a three-hour drive from Phoenix. The name actually comes from Mormon leaders Erastus Snow and William Jordan Flake. Even though their winters typically aren’t white, residents get into the holiday spirit with a "12 Days of Christmas" event every December.
Christmas Valley is a small community in the middle of Oregon that was named after nearby Christmas Lake. Although small in size, the town's annual Light Parade in December is big on the Christmas spirit. The parade features holiday floats, caroling, and treats like free cookies and hot beverages.
Close to the western border of Illinois, the town of Joy has a post office that thrives during the holiday season. More than 12,000 cards from around the world are sent there every December for its special holiday postmark.
Santa Claus, located west of Savannah, is a place where residents pack in as much Christmas spirit as possible (though the town only consists of 0.2 square miles). Streets feature names like Candy Cane Road and December Drive, and jolly old St. Nick himself greets visitors on a sign marking the city’s entrance.
Close to the northern border of Mississippi lies the city of Holly Springs. To get ready for the holidays, the city holds a Christmas Historic Home Tour—a ticketed event where visitors can walk through historic homes that have been decorated to the nines for the season.
The town of Christmas is a short drive east from Orlando. It was named for Fort Christmas, which was built on Christmas Day in 1837 during the Second Seminole War. People send in mail from all over to the country to get its postmark on their holiday cards.
Fans of ghost towns will covet this abandoned Christmas-themed town, located in the Mojave Desert. The Santa’s Land attraction was once a popular year-round holiday stop, but it ceased operations in the mid 1970s. If you’re looking for a (slightly creepy) blast from the past, you’re in luck: its candy-striped buildings remain standing.
Like Bethlehem, Nazareth is another Pennsylvania community founded by Moravian missionaries and named for a town from the Bible. To celebrate the season, the local Moravian Historical Society hosts an annual Christmas event, featuring an ice-carver, storytelling, traditional treats and craft merchants.
Another little town of Bethlehem sits on Lake Hickory in North Carolina. Its residents know how to get into the holiday spirit with the "Christmas in Bethlehem" drive-through. Local churches and volunteers put on dozens of nativity scenes that visitors can explore by car or on foot.
Located slightly southwest of Houston, the evocative city of Sugar Land is actually named for its connection to the sugar industry. The city celebrates with events in Sugar Land Town Square, including photos with Santa, caroling, and the lighting of a 40-foot Christmas tree.
The town of Mistletoe was named for the plant, which can be found growing in the area. Mistletoe is well-known as a symbol of Christmas romance, due in part to its history as a fertility symbol—eventually evolving into a traditional decoration for couples to share a kiss beneath.
Here’s yet another town dedicated to old Saint Nick. Originally called Santa Fe, the town changed its name to Santa Claus and was home to a decorative sleigh manufacturer. The town includes a theme park called Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, the annual 1.2 mile Santa Claus Land of Lights, and a live reindeer exhibit.
A short ride north from Orlando is the city of Winter Park, which was originally founded as a resort to escape frigid northern temperatures. Although their winters are mild, their Winter on the Avenue event includes man-made snow, an ice-skating rink, a tree-lighting celebration, and a visit from Santa.
Conjuring images of holiday decor, this large Dallas-area city was actually named after General Augustus Hill Garland. The town's Christmas on the Square event features ice carving, a meet-and-greet with Santa, and a tree-lighting ceremony.
This unincorporated area made headlines in 2005 when it changed its name to SecretSanta.com for a year, receiving a large sum of money from the website in exchange. Santa is home to yet another post office that's particularly popular during the holiday season among those wanting its festive postmark.