BETWEEN Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2007, the post office in Noel, Missouri, processed 30,428 Christmas cards and packages – double the usual volume of mail for this town of 1,500 people.
Noel is just one of a number of places with Christmas names that see a lot of out-of-towners this time of year. Sometimes, the post office is the main attraction; sometimes, there are holiday light displays and Santa visits.
Here’s a look at places with Christmas-associated names.
Christmas, Florida: This small town between Orlando and the Kennedy Space Centre is a little like Noel. The most popular destination for out-of-towners is the post office. A special mailbox accepts letters for Santa Claus, which are answered by a volunteer. Other holiday touches around town: Streets are named after reindeer, mail is collected in Santa-shaped boxes and a trimmed tree on the main highway never comes down.
Santa Claus, Indiana: In the summer, Santa Claus gets lots of visitors to its amusement park, Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari. But this time of year, tourism is all about Christmas. In addition to the post office, attractions include the Santa Claus Museum, Santa’s Candy Castle, Santa’s Lodge and the Christmas Lake Village Festival of Lights along a15km-trail, with a parade, holiday concerts and craft show.
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: Bethlehem’s nickname is the Christmas City, and its busiest time of year starts Nov 28 with the lighting of the city’s official tree. The town was named Bethlehem on Christmas Eve in 1741 by Moravian immigrants.
North Pole, Alaska: No, this isn’t the Earth’s geographic North Pole, located amid the Arctic Ocean. This North Pole, population 2,200, is 19km from Fairbanks; it was officially named in 1953