Posted in About Alaska

This photo is used under a Creative Commons license by Zanastardust.

He is the subject of many stories; we give gifts in his name and we have all seen countless movies featuring everyone’s favorite red-cheeked do-gooder and his herd of flying reindeer. We even make our children promise to behave or else he will skip their chimney while traveling around the world to deliver toys to boys and girls. Why not head to Santa’s house and see where all the action takes place firsthand?

Every family has their own bucket list of family vacations, be it Disneyworld, the beach or a special destination to see relatives. This year, consider adding Alaska’s Santa Claus House to the list — a once-in-a-lifetime adventure the family will always remember.

Just a 15-minute drive south of Fairbanks and the Westmark Fairbanks Hotel & Conference Center is the city of North Pole, home to the Santa Claus House and the final destination of all letters addressed to Santa. More than 400,000 pieces of mail arrive each year at the North Pole Post Office simply addressed to “Santa Claus, North Pole, Alaska.” But apart from being Santa’s stomping grounds, North Pole is also home to about 2,200 residents year round. A tour through town will take visitors down appropriately named streets such as Santa Claus Lane, Kris Kringle Drive and Mistletoe Lane.

A visit to Santa’s house will leave children in awe as the story of Santa Claus comes to life at the red and white estate. Walk through the house and shop the marvelous selection of Christmas décor and ornaments, apparel, collectible items, unique toys and a variety of items stamped with the official Made-in-Alaska logo. Families can also use the opportunity to get a one-of-a-kind family photo with a life-size nativity scene, giant moose and polar bear or one of the many themed Christmas trees, not to mention the original 40-foot, two-dimensional Santa. An even larger three-dimensional Santa — which at a soaring 50 feet is claimed to be the “World’s Largest Santa” — greets visitors outside, as do real members of Santa’s reindeer team. Visitors can take a break from the festivities and excitement at Santa’s Coffee Cache with hot chocolate, espresso and snacks to keep the fun going. Learn more about the house and hours of operations, here.

The city of North Pole also comes alive in December, right around the holidays and when the annual North Pole Christmas in Ice Festival takes place. This six-week winter festival brings forth a slew of talented ice sculptors from around the world who compete with Christmas themed ice art sculptures, and features an ice maze, ice slides, fire twirlers, indoor kids’ crafts, educational ice sculpture demonstrations and fireworks. The seventh annual Christmas in Ice opens Nov. 30 and runs through Jan. 7, 2014.