North Pole, Alaska
Although the Santa Claus House of North Pole, Alaska is not the largest or most famous home of Santa Claus, it is the oldest and the best-known in the United States. Located in the small suburban town of North Pole outside of Fairbanks, Alaska, the Santa Claus House has been in business since the early 1950s, besting most of its rivals in Canada and Scandinavia by decades. Although the Santa Claus House receives many visitors annually, its real claim to fame is as a postage and shipping hub for letters and packages from Santa. To the children of America, a letter postmarked from North Pole, Alaska is as good as it gets.
The Santa Claus House began life as a small trading post built by the now locally famous Miller family. Over time, the house morphed from its original incarnation as a general store into a world-famous Christmas emporium. The current building is a much larger Bavarian-like structure that replaced the original Santa Claus House. Visitors to the House are greeted by an enormous four-story fiberglass Santa Claus figure, as well as a small home-grown herd of reindeer.
The interior of the Santa Claus House is the nerve center of the postage and shipping operation. The Santa House doubles as the town of North Pole’s post office. There is a wide variety of Christmas merchandise on sale, which can be shipped with genuine North Pole postmarks. Of course, the favorite items by far are the ‘genuine’ Santa letters which are sent from here to countless children around the world every year. According to their website, over a million such letters have been sent out since the House opened. Periodically throughout the year Santa Claus holds court in the Santa Claus House.
The Santa Claus House is located twenty miles east of Fairbanks and approximately two-hundred miles northeast of Anchorage. Visitors from outside Alaska are not particularly common. The Santa Claus House is open January to Mid-April 10:00am-6:00pm (Saturdays) and noon-5:00pm (Sundays); Mid-April to Mid-May and Mid-September to October 10:00am-6:00pm (Mon-Sat) and Noon-6:00pm (Sundays); Mid-May to Mid-September 8:00am-8:pm (daily); November and December 10:00am-6:00pm (daily). The House is closed on Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. There is no charge for admission. Web: www.santaclaushouse.com (official website of the Santa Claus House)