Christmas Tips & Fun

Learn interesting, unusual, unique and useful facts and tips about Christmas and the winter holiday season, in America and around the world.

Christmas Around the World

U.S. Towns Named North Pole


hile the earth’s magnetic and geographic north poles (and the secret home of Santa) are located in the forbidding, barren upper reaches of the Arctic Circle, friendlier instances of the “North Pole” abound in the U.S. In fact, there are at least five locations.

North Pole, Alaska

Yes, Virginia, there is a North Pole – in Alaska. It’s a real town with the motto "Where the spirit of Christmas lives year ‘round." Streets have names like Santa Claus Lane, St. Nicholas Drive, Blessing Avenue and Moosewalk Road.

There’s a North Pole Pizza Depot not far from what is probably a center of activity during the last two months of the year – the North Pole Post Office. There’s both a North Pole Middle School on Eighth and North Pole High School on N.P.H.S Blvd. – except it’s really the same street.

You can pay your utility bill on their website and check the municipal building code which says, among things, that you can’t move a building into or out of the city without getting a permit. You can buy newspapers and make Internet purchases without paying a sales tax – think about where you’re reading this.

The city is hiring. One opening pays slightly more than $19 an hour and provides benefits and the application process begins with the City Clerk whose office is on Snowman Lane at number 125.

North Pole Alaska became "a first-class city on January 15, 1953" after being Davis for the previous five years. There’s no Santaland Park there yet, as the original residents had hope but, after all, they could put it on their Christmas List and maybe Santa would bring one.

North Pole, Colorado

It’s an amusement park in Cascade, Colorado. You can get mail postmarked "North Pole" there. You send Christmas cards or family newsletters already addressed – but not stamped – collected together in a big envelope or box to their "post office" and they will add the postage and cancel them with a drawing of Santa and a North Pole cancelation stamp. You just have to send a check for the correct postage – and make sure the envelopes you include aren’t red because that’s the color of their stamp.

Its official name is Santa’s Workshop/North Pole and it opened in June of 1956. The original Santa was 5’6” and wore a size 54 suit (red, of course). Santa’s helpers were called gnomes and they were actually local college girls. They had some pretty strict requirements back then – akin to those of Playboy Bunnies or airline stewardesses. "Santa’s gnomes had to be 5’ to 5’3” tall; 105 to 110 lbs.; reddish or dark hair; large eyes (preferably blue); dimples and be ‘quick of step’ and enthusiastic. All gnomes were chosen with careful judging by a Denver charm school and had to pass aptitude tests in dealing with the public." They regularly had 50 of these roaming the park in grey/green uniforms to blend in with the terrain at the base of Pike’s Peak. That was a lot of dimples.

North Pole, New York

There’s yet another North Pole, complete with its own postmark. This one is in New York state, not far from Lake Placid, the home of the XIII Olympic Winter Games where, in 1980 (for those of you not keeping track of the Roman numeral version) the "miracle on ice" occurred.

Actually, this version of North Pole is the "father" of the one in Colorado and thinks it is the first true example of the "theme park" concept. Although Christmas 1949 was still months away, Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole opened to a grand total of 212 visitors. The idea captivated newspapers across the country and the Pathй company featured it in one of its well-watched Newsreels that told the story to more than 30 million movie-goers (remember, this was before most people had television so getting the news at the movies was a big deal.) It has kept growing since then.

According to the park’s own history, its origins "lie in an enchanting story a father told his young daughter about a baby bear whose adventures led him to discover Santa Claus and his North Pole Workshop. The little girl's plea to visit this magical place prompted the father, Julian Reiss, a Lake Placid businessman, to begin to dream about a summer home for Santa Claus located where children could live their fondest fantasy."

The design of the park was the creation of Arto Monaco, an amazingly talented man who designed toys for Mattel, created a faux German village out of an old movie set so GIs could train for street fighting in WWII, and worked on designing Disneyland. Monaco also created the Colorado version of the theme parks and both have an actual "North Pole" that is frozen year ‘round.

Other North Poles

We found a couple more locations named North Pole. There’s a small town called North Pole about 10 miles north of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. And Oklahoma City sports a winter themed shopping and amusement park called North Pole City.

Written by Dianne Weller
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