What’s the rule? Once Halloween is over then you can start talking about Christmas right?! I mean not to be a downer but Thanksgiving is just a celebration of genocide anyway so I have no qualms about skipping over that one. Regardless of all the “rules” of when we can start talking about Christmas, you can just throw that all out the window anyway because you can visit all of these places and celebrate Christmas ALL. YEAR. ROUND.
Year Round Christmas Towns
Surprisingly, or not surprisingly, there are a lot of year round Christmas towns or Christmas themed amusement parks or year round Christmas stores for all to celebrate that holiday cheer all throughout the year. Here are seven of the best year round Christmas towns.
Carolyn of Holidays to Europe
The fairytale town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Germany is the perfect place to celebrate Christmas all year round. Whilst it hosts one of Germany’s most popular Christmas markets during December, those visiting at other times of the year can still get in the festive spirit. Rothenburg is the birthplace of one of Germany’s most loved Christmas shops, the Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas Village, a real piece of heaven for Christmas lovers. The original store is a wonderland of decorations and ornaments, Christmas trees, Santa Clauses in all shapes and sizes, tableware, candles and so much more.
So popular is the store that there are two additional Kathe Wohlfahrt shops in Rothenburg so there’s no excuse not to find the perfect Christmas-themed souvenir when you visit. Besides the main store is the German Christmas Museum which traces the history of Christmas in Germany through its vast array of items on display. Intricate music boxes, wooden nutcrackers and Advent calendars are just some of the many fascinating things to see.
Both the Christmas stores and the Christmas Museum are open year-round making this one of the perfect year round Christmas towns. A small admission fee applies to the Museum. Rothenburg ob der Tauber is located on the German scenic route known as the Romantic Road. It makes a popular day trip from either Munich (2.5 hours) or Frankfurt (2 hours).
Santa Claus Village, Lapland, Finland
Albi of Ginger Around the Globe
Santa Claus Village is located in the Finnish part of Lapland. It is perhaps one of the best known Santa villages in Skandinavia, also because Swedes used to say, that Santa is coming from Finland. So what can you do here?
Santa Claus village is just on the border with an arctic circle, you don’t step over things like that too often. So jump over it, run through it anything else, if you feel like it, now, you are officially closer to the north pole. Once you go through that, you can head to the home, where Santa lives.
The staff are dressed as elves all year round and will show you all parts of Santa’s home. Afterward, you can go and have a picture with him. Just be aware, that there is a lot of people doing that, which means that you might stand in the line for Santa for a while. But you can spend time looking around – there are a lot of pictures in Santa’s home and a lot of famous people came to visit him from Finnish metal bands to the Chinese president.
Once you get to Santa, some of the elves will take a picture with you. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to do it yourself. After that, you can buy your picture on your way out. It is a little bit commercial, but it doesn’t cost more than just 5 euros. The place is very kid-friendly, so except for visiting Santa, which is a highlight of the day, you can also see reindeers and huskies.
In general, Santa village in Finland is a very adventurous place and it pays off to book vacations packages in Finland to see it, even if just once.
North Pole, Alaska
Becci of Tattling Tourist
If you want to feel the Christmas cheer any time of the year, head to the North Pole, Alaska. This town just 20 minutes away from Fairbanks boasts the world’s largest Santa Claus statue that is 42 feet tall and weighs 900 pounds. When driving around the town you will feel the spirit of Christmas as you pass the light poles painted like candy canes and street names such as Mistletoe Lane and Candy Cane Lane.
Head to the Santa Claus House where you can meet Santa and give him your Christmas list. Spend time shopping in the 9,000 square feet of space filled with holiday-themed items or stop outside and meet the live reindeer. One of the most popular things to do here is to send a letter home officially stamped from the North Pole. This is where you can get a sticker saying you are officially on Santa’s good list!
There’s plenty of events going on in North Pole, Alaska. There are parades in the long summer days in July and ice artists come from around the world in late November to compete in an ice sculpture contest.
Don’t forget to stop and take photos at murals outside Santa Claus House and at the “Welcome to the North Pole” sign as you head into town to remember your Christmas themed good time!
Santa’s Village, New Hampshire
Jamie of The Daily Adventures of Me
Nestled in the White Mountains of New Hampshire lays a Christmas Village that you can visit all year long! Santa’s Village is a family amusement park that is just as much fun in the summer as it is around Christmas. Even when it is 80 degrees out you can get a family picture with Santa at his house, pet and feed real reindeer or ride Santa’s sleigh over the park. Little kids will enjoy the scavenger hunt around the park looking for all of Santa’s elves. There are also all the normal amusement park rides you expect, like roller coasters and flumes.
The park is in Jefferson, which is right near North Conway and Lincoln, New Hampshire. This is an ideal location to hike off the Kancamagus Highway in the summer, see New England’s fall colors in autumn and skiing at Loon Mountain in the winter. Read more about Santa’s Village and things to do in Lincoln, New Hampshire on The Daily Adventures of Me.
Christine of Live Love Run Travel
It would be hard not to celebrate Christmas all year in Christmas, Florida. Located just outside of Orlando, Florida, most people just drive through Christmas on the way to the beach without really stopping or even noticing it. If you plan to be in Orlando at Christmas or anytime really, make sure to drive out to Christmas while you are here.
Christmas, Florida, is known mostly for the Christmas tree that is up all year long and the post office. People drive from all over Central Florida to mail their Christmas cards from Christmas. The post office has Christmas decorations outside and Christmas stamps to decorate your envelope inside. If you need to get some mail to Santa, there is a special mailbox just for letters to Santa at the post office too.
If you have some time, stop and check out Swampy, the biggest alligator in Florida. You can’t miss him on the side of State Road 50. Swampy is actually the entrance to Jungle Adventures, an animal park housing lots of alligators. You can also take an airboat ride at Midway Airboat Rides to see alligators and other Florida creatures in nature. Stop by and check out Fort Christmas, a full-size replica, to learn about the Seminole Indian Wars of the 1800s and visit the restored historic homes there.
Getting to Christmas is somewhat easy. Take FL-408 east until almost the end when you find East Colonial Drive or SR 50. From there, take SR 50 east until you see the big Christmas tree on the left. If you get to the beach, you went too far! Take some time out of your Orlando vacation and make sure to experience the year-round Christmas magic in Christmas, Florida.
Herb Island, South Korea
Marie of Be Marie Korea
Herb Island is located just outside Seoul, the capital of Korea, and is a popular wellness destination. It was selected as one of the top 25 wellness destinations of Korea. But Pocheon Herb Island is so much more than just a wellness destination, it is also a small amusement park with a couple of rides, some small museums, photo zones and a small pond with gondolas. It’s a bit of an eclectic place as it has so many different styles and themes, but I guess this is what gives it charm. Surprisingly, the place also has a huge Santa Village which is open all year round. Of course, the best time to visit is during the Christmas season as they turn on all the lights, it’s cold and the music makes the whole thing complete. But if you can’t wait till the most exciting time of the year, then you can visit Santa Village on a hot summer day. The statues a bit old but again, this is what makes this place so special and weird.
The entrance ticket to the whole park is 8000 krw, which is around 6,5$ and you can reach the place using public transport but booking a package tour is always more convenient.
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Pigeon Forge has a little bit of everything even Christmas all year round. You’ll find one of the best year round Christmas stores – the Incredible Christmas Place – which is self-proclaimed as the largest Christmas shopping village in the south. You’ll, of course, find all your Christmas needs here including wreaths, lights, ornaments, and anything else you may need.
If you find that one day of Christmas shopping isn’t enough or you just want more Christmas cheer, you can stay at the Inn at Christmas Place which features Santa visits, present-wrapping workshops, and plenty of Christmas activities.
By Jennifer (aka Dr. J) of Sidewalk Safari
It’s Christmas all year long in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland, home to the A Christmas Story house. If you’ve ever turned on a television in the U.S. around the holidays, you’re bound to be familiar with A Christmas Story, the cult classic movie that originally debuted in the 1980s. The film is set in 1940 and follows a young boy named Ralphie as he schemes to get a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. In 2006, the house in Cleveland where some scenes from the movie were filmed opened as a museum. Over time, the museum was extended further to include two additional houses in the neighborhood including the Bumpus House B&B. Get into the holiday spirit any time of year with a visit to A Christmas Story house. Pay homage to the leg lamp in the window as you climb the stairs to the front porch. Take the guided tour and recreate all your favorite moments from the film. Just don’t shoot your eye out!
You’ll need a car to get to A Christmas Story House or take an Uber or Lyft from Downtown Cleveland and get there in about 10 minutes (without traffic). The proximity to downtown makes it easy to include A Christmas Story house on a perfect day out in Cleveland. A ticket to tour A Christmas Story house cost $13.00 at the time of writing.
Rai of A Rai of Light
Drobak, a charming town to the east of Oslo, is the only year round Christmas town in Norway. A popular Scandinavian folktale states that Santa was born beneath a rock in this town several hundred years ago. At the heart of Drobak is Tregaarden’s Julehus and official post office, allegedly Santa’s very own, filled with Christmas wish lists from children around the world. Each and every letter received is answered and there is a permanent exhibit of about 250,000 letters and postcards from all over the world adorning the walls.
Here, Santa’s presence can be felt everywhere and you can stock up on Christmas ornaments, candles, gifts, toys and a lot more, all to your heart’s content no matter the time of the year. You can also send letters from here to friends back home adorned with the official Santa stamp. Drobak is the only place in Norway where it is legal to have special signs on the streets that warn to watch out for Santa. Drobak is only a short ferry or bus ride from Oslo and remains one of the quirkiest places I have visited on my travels no matter how many countries in the world I’ve been to.