I went to the North Pole. Santa has been living in Alaska my entire life and I had no idea.
I should preface this post by saying that I LOVE Santa. When I was a kid, I was encouraged to leave cookies for Santa and was always so excited when he would leave me a note in return. Some years, he would leave one of the cookies behind with a perfectly shaped bite taken out of it; this filled me with a wonder beyond my wildest imagination. Fast forward thirty plus years and you have a grown woman in Alaska who sees “North Pole” on the map. How could I have missed this? When my friend told me that not only did the North Pole truly exist but Santa was there with his reindeer, I had to go.
Located 17 miles from Fairbanks, Alaska, the North Pole is a quiet town with a high school, a big library and a McDonald’s featuring a candy cane striped post holding up its golden arches. Driving up and down its streets, the familiar candy cane stripes are featured everywhere – I was especially pleased to see them next to fire hydrants. We drove down streets called, “Saint Nicholas Lane” and “Santa Claus Drive” and even saw “Santa’s Senior Center,” but the true wonder of North Pole is at the Santa Claus House.
Christmas is celebrated every day of the year at Santa Claus House. Even in August, I watched people record personal video messages from Santa himself to share with the special people in their lives. We shared a piece of Peanut Butter Explosion fudge as we shopped and Christmas carols played softly in the background, there was a buzz in the air that could only have been accentuated with the smell of cinnamon or pine. Outside, a massive Santa statue stands by the road and you can find his real reindeer behind fencing – to keep them from flying away, of course.
Opened in 1952, the Santa Claus House is located at 101 St Nicholas Dr, North Pole, AK 99705 and sends personal letters from Santa to children all over the world. I can imagine the fatigue that would come from celebrating Christmas every day of the year, but to this visitor, I sure appreciate them doing it. All we needed to make the experience better was a little snow.