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Are These U.S. Towns With Christmas-Related Names Worth a Visit This Winter?

Santa might be going here, but are you?

Covid-19 Disclaimer: Make sure to check the status of the states, regions, and establishments in which you’re planning to visit prior to travel. Many regions continue to see high infection rates and deaths, while many states and counties remain under varying stay-at-home orders. Those traveling from areas with high rates of Covid-19 should consider avoiding travel for now in order to reduce spread.

There’s nothing to get you in the spirit of the season quite like the name of a literal town. Why not head there and/or make it a pit stop on one of your upcoming weekend road trips?!

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Santa Claus

WHERE: Indiana

There’s no shortage of Christmas cheer in Santa Claus, Indiana. The town, which is also allegedly home to the world’s first water park (Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari), is also home to a quaint, family-owned distillery and the Santa Claus Christmas Celebration—a festival that lasts almost the entire month of December and will have you sipping cocoa at a boutique Christmas shop and driving through a “Land of Lights” while, according to the town’s website, “learn[ing] the shining story of Rudolph.”

Verdict: Is Christmas your favorite time of year? If yes, then give this place a visit.

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Christmas Valley

WHERE: Oregon

Other than the fact that it averages about 15 inches of snow annually, this destination doesn’t overtly take advantage of its namesake in the form of kitsch. But, it has some incredible hikes and vistas at locations like the Christmas Valley Sand Dunes, the ancient (volcanic) Crack-in-the-Ground, and Glass Buttes (where you can snag a striking piece of obsidian); all spots that absolutely warrant a place on your long-weekend road trip itinerary.

Verdict: Yes!

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WHERE: Texas

Aside from having a, quite frankly, adorable name, the town of Garland shows its Christmas spirit in what has become a sort of iconic way. From Dec. 5 to Dec. 31 (nightly), Christmas on the Square kicks off in Downtown Garland Square and 100,000 lights can be seen strewn…everywhere. Additionally, you’ll hear music as you gaze in awe!

Verdict: Why not! Especially if you love Christmas cheer!

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WHERE: Missouri

Noel prides itself on being devoid of tourist traps, offering visitors scenic hikes, picturesque motels, and canoe trips. The town does have one longstanding Christmas tradition, however. People literally everywhere send their holiday cards to the town’s post office so that it will be stamped with one of two themed postmarks: a red holiday wreath or a green Christmas tree.

Verdict: Oui!

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North Pole

WHERE: New York

This town of about 8,100 is home to a theme park called “Santa’s Workshop,” where you can have breakfast with Mr. Claus himself, explore the park’s Village of Lights (while roasting marshmallows), and get a personalized letter from Santa.

Verdict: Yes! You can tell people you went to the North Pole—a great ice breaker at socially-distanced Christmas parties!

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WHERE: Pennsylvania

Fittingly, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was to be founded on Christmas Eve in 1741. Also nicknamed “Christmas City,” Bethlehem hosts an annual event called “Christkindlmarkt,” where you can buy art from nationally-recognized artists, purchase ornaments, and other holiday collectibles made in Germany, and cook with Santa.

Verdict: Classic. Yes.

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Christmas Cove

WHERE: Maine

A small boating town, Christmas Cove might not go all out like some of the other places on this list, but sneaking away to a cottage there this winter might just be the quiet retreat you wanted but couldn’t get over the summer. Take in some of the sights at Acadia National Park while you’re in town, as well.

Verdict: A resounding, “Yes! I love a serene quiet getaway.”