by Hans Pul
Where does Santa Claus live? This question circulates in the minds of millions of children around the world around this time of the year. According to a poem by George Walker in 1870, his home is situated near the North Pole:
“In a nice little city called Santa Clausville, with its houses and church at the foot of the hill, lives jolly old Santa Claus.
His home through the long summer months, you must know, is near the North Pole, in the ice and snow.”
Google-minded kids could end up thinking Santa lives right here, in North Pole, Alaska. In 1952, the name of this town was actually chosen to attract a toy manufacturer. The town is home to some Santa Claus-themed attractions, including the Santa Claus House. Similarly, the town of Santa Claus, Indiana took advantage of its curious name as well. In fact, its history goes back a century earlier as that of North Pole, namely to 1856. As early as 1935, Milton Harris recognised the fact that the name of the town could help doing some good business. He established Santa’s Candy Castle (see picture). Today, this tourist attraction is only one of many Santa Claus-themed attractions, hotels and theme parks in town (see picture above).
A great online tour of these and other places related to Santa Claus can be found here (see picture below).
Taking things to the next level, entrepreneurs in Rovaniemi, Finland took advantage of the town’s location close to the Arctic circle and established Santa’s Office (see first picture of this post). Here, you can meet Santa Claus in the place where he spends most of his time:
“We all know that each Christmas Santa travels all over the world bearing presents and good will. And surely anyone’s dream must be to make a return visit to him in his very own office? Well now you can!
Santa’s Office far away in the North of Finland on the Arctic Circle is quite unique in that every day of the year people come from all over the world to see him there. Thousands upon thousands of them. Santa’s Office is a place where dreams come true.”
What most kids (and probably adults too) awaiting Santa Claus these days probably don’t know, is that the story of Santa Claus evolved from the Sinterklaas tradition. Dutch children believe that Sinterklaas (see picture below) lives in Madrid and visits the Netherlands every year to give away presents on December the 5th. In turn, Sinterklaas is related to bishop Saint Nicholas, who lived in the 4th century. Rather than on the North Pole, Saint Nicholas lived in not-so-snowy Myra (now Demre), located on the Mediterranean coast of contemporary Turkey. For more on the history of Santa Claus, Sinterklaas and Saint Nicholas, have a look at this intriguing blogpost.
If you wish, feel free to send your message to Santa Claus. Finnish entrepreneurs will be pleased (especially if you decide to visit Santa’s Office or buy something from their shop). Here’s the address: