I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Santa Claus, Indiana, during the heat of summer and it was a blast. There’s something to be written about a city that prides itself by offering visitors a year-round Christmas experience. Then, of course, there’s Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari, its huge summer draw. But, what goes on when it’s time for the winter holidays? In one word: plenty. Here’s nine jolly good reasons why you need to check out the Santa Claus, IN Christmas Celebration this holiday season.
There’s plenty of cities that go above and beyond in regards to the winter holiday season. Happily, my family and I have had the pleasure of visiting a few. But, when it comes to downright 365-days-a-year passion for them, Santa Claus, IN, has it on lock down. The town is in celebration mode every day, but when the weather starts to cool off, the holiday revelry heats up. Here’s my favorite ways to bring on the holiday cheer in Santa Claus, Indiana.
1. A Direct Line to the North Pole
- What: The North Pole Network
- Where: Santa’s Candy Castle
- When: Daily 11/24 – 12/23 during regular business hours
- Cost: Admission to Santa’s Candy Castle is free but chatting with an elf is $9.99.
When I was a kid, I would have loved the chance to chat on a direct line to the North Pole. Happily, times (and tech) have changed and Santa’s Candy castle is the place to visit for just that. Kids can chat with an elf and earn an official listing on Santa’s Good List during the conversation. I know I would have wanted that kind of accolade when it comes to my Christmas presents!
2. Save Room for Dessert!
- What: Christmas Dinner with Santa
- Where: Celebration room at Santa’s Lodge
- When: Fridays and Saturdays through December 16, 2017 at 6:00pm CT
- Cost: $15.95 for adults (12 and up), $8.95 for children (5-11), and free for children 4 and under.
Santa is the guest of honor in Santa’s Lodge for a celebration buffet. Beginning at 6pm, a full dinner followed by story time and a milk-and-cookies snack rounds out the evening. Honestly, the price of the meal is more than affordable considering the fun both adults and ids will have spending time with the jolly old elf himself.
3. Let There Be (A Festival of) Lights!
- What: The Festival of Lights
- Where: Christmas Lake Village
- When: Saturdays through December 16, 2017 from 5:00 – 9:00 pm CT
- Cost: Free. Donations, both monetary and in canned goods, are accepted.
Bundle up the kids, hop in the car, and head to Christmas Lake Village for its Festival of Lights. You’ll spy nine miles of decked-out homes inside the gated community. While the fun is free, if you’re feeling in the giving spirit, donations are happily accepted.
4. Jolly Old Das Nickolaus
- What: Das Nikolausfest
- Where: St. Nicholas Catholic Church
- When: Saturday, December 2 and Saturday, December 9 from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm CT.
- Cost: Free
The first Saturday, it’s a Mexican theme. The second, a German inspired fest. Each day is filled with traditional food, games, kid’s activities, and live entertainment. And it wouldn’t be a Das Nickolaus Fest if St. Nicholas didn’t make an appearance, right? Right.
5. Bah, Humbug!
- What: Scrooge’s Christmas
- Where: Heritage Hills High School Auditorium
- When: December 9, 2017, at 1:00, 3:00, and 6:00 pm CT, Saturday, December 16, 2017, at 1:00, 3:00, and 6:00 pm CT, Sunday, December 17, 2017, at 2:00 pm CT.
- Cost: $10 for adults and $5 for children 13 and under
An adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the Lincoln Boyhood Drama Association gives it all they have for the holiday tale of how the famous literary character has a change of heart. Perfect for kids of all ages, the tale provides the true meaning of Christmas spirit – or should I write spirits.
6. I Love a Parade!
- What: The Annual Santa Claus Christmas Parade
- Where: Locations throughout Santa Claus, IN.
- When: December 9, 2017 at 1:00 pm CT
- Cost: Free
What’s a holiday celebration without a parade? Beginning in Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari’s main parking lot, the parade travels past Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort, through Kringle Place Shopping Center, before finally returning to the starting point. Tip: the parade is VERY popular so, if you want a good viewing spot along the route, queue up early!
7. An Adventure in Christmas Lights
- What: The Santa Claus Land of Lights
- Where: Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort
- When: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights November 23 – December 10 from 5:00 – 9:00pm CT, nightly December 15 – December 30, and Closed December 24-25.
- Cost: $15 per vehicle but you can score $4 off at the local McDonald’s.
For $15 per vehicle, you can drive the 1.2 circle and check out drive paths, cabins, and rvs lighted to the hilts. Considered the largest campground holiday light show in North America, it’s a must-do. Bonus: every vehicle gets a free photo with Rudolph inside the Santa Claus Christmas Store.
8. Get Your Craft On
- What: Santa Claus Arts & Crafts Show
- Where: Four different locations – Santa Claus American Legion, Santa Claus Community Center, Historic Santa Claus Campground, and Celebration Room at Santa’s Lodge
- When: December 9, 2017 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm CT
- Cost: Free
If you’re looking for homemade gifts, circle December 9th on your calendar. with four different spots to get your holiday shop on, there’s more than plenty to choose from.
9. Santa Loves Breakfast food!
- What: Breakfast with Santa
- Where: Historic Santa Claus Campground
- When: December 9 from 7:00 am to 10:00 am CT
- Cost: $5 adults and children over 10, $3 children 10 and under
The kids are up early already, right? Head to the Historic Santa Claus Campground for a breakfast feast including all-you-can-eat pancakes, donut holes, and sausage links. Drinks will also be provided and Santa will be there spreading joy and excitement.
It can’t go without mention that there’s so much more than this going on through the first three weeks of December, but these are the nine that caught my eye. For the full scoop, there’s a full event guide listing here. Thanks to the gang at Santa Claus, Indiana for getting me in the holiday spirit!