I'm not sure about you, but when the Christmas spirit is in the air, it drums up the need for me to get cozy and watch or learn about some mysteries. I'm not entirely sure. Maybe it's because my family's go-to holiday movie was Home Alone 2 and I've spent thirty years watching ten-year-old Macaulay Culkin figure out how to take down two hair-brained robbers or not, but December is the time to be mystified.
And nothing really is more mystifying, and on theme, than the whimsical town of Christmas, Florida. That's right. There's an actual town in Florida where it is Christmas year round.
So what is this magical place where it is Christmas year round? I never thought I would see such a thing outside of a film and certainly not in Florida, but it is real, and only a thirty-minute drive from Orlando. Which is wild.
Located on State Road 50, what the town of Christmas, Florida lacks in snow they make up for in ultimate year-round Christmas cheer. The tiny town has a post office, which receives so much mail for Santa that it has its own "Santa" mail slot, streets named after all of Santa's reindeer. There's even a nativity scene and a perma-Christmas Tree next to a sign reading: "The permanent Christmas tree at Christmas Florida is the symbol of love and good will; the Christmas Spirit every day in the year".
The history of Christmas, Florida is just as amusing. Originally named Fort Christmas on Christmas Day, the town of Christmas became just "Christmas" in 1892 when the post office opened. And there are even special stamps used to return the thousands of letters received from specially marked from Christmas, Florida.
And there's even a bit of a mystical aspect to Christmas, judging from this curious story of J.W. Thomas of Orlando, who was in the Navy back in 1943 and was "taken care of" by someone from Christmas, Florida:
“When I was in the Navy back in 1943, I was coming home on Christmas furlough and got off the train in Cocoa. I had to hitch hike to Orlando and it was cold and there weren’t many cars on the road back then. This was during the war and gas was rationed and many folks didn’t have much gas anyway. Anyway, I made it about half way to Orlando but got stranded in the middle of nowhere on the highway. It was about midnight and it was cold. The old navy P-jacket that I was wearing wasn’t doing much good at keeping me warm.
Well I heard some dogs barking and could see the lights of a house just off the road a bit. This man comes of the house to see what the dogs were barking at and he sees me and takes me to his house and when his wife saw that I was a sailor she fixed me something to eat and some hot coffee. They fixed me a place to sleep in their front room and the next morning was Christmas Day so they made me a good breakfast I needed to get on the road. I told them I was much obliged for their hospitality and as I went out on the road to catch a car going to Orlando I saw the road sign that said ‘Christmas.’ It was one of the kindest Christmas gifts I’ve ever had, they took care of me that night and that was in Christmas, Florida in 1943.”
Honestly, this is the feel good magic you expect to hear coming out of a town called Christmas, Florida. This season I might have to venture out of my Grinch hole and take the short drive out to see it for. myself. My only question is: Who's coming with me?