By Candy Clarke
It’s that time of year, again: the time of year when young children begin to gather information and plague everyone with questions. Is there really a Santa Claus? Does Santa really live at North Pole? Is there really a Santa Claus house? These questions and more seem to occupy their little minds from just after Thanksgiving all the way to Christmas morning.
They look up at you with their smiling faces so full of hope and practically begging you to tell them there is a real Santa. From two until they are about six years old; they so desperately want an adult to tell them that it’s okay, there is a Santa (contrary to what big brother or big sister whisper to them when mom and dad aren’t within hearing range). As an adult, you might feel a bit conflicted. Do you tell them yes, no, maybe, or quickly divert their attention elsewhere? Having spent almost twenty years living in North Pole, Alaska; I can honestly say the answer is “Yes.”
In 1953, while Alaska was still a territory, North Pole became a city. It took the name “North Pole” in hopes of attracting toy manufactures to the area. While the toy manufactures never came, the city kept the name. Today, residents inside the city limits total almost 2,000. North Pole is located about 140 miles south of the Arctic Circle and is part of the Fairbanks North Star Borough, which claims a population of 96,000 residents. The city of North Pole is located approximately 1,700 miles south of the earth’s geographic north pole.
Though a small community, North Pole is known for its motto: “Where the Spirit of Christmas Lives Year Round.” Holiday decorations remain in place all year. Our light poles are giant candy canes, and our streets have names like Santa Claus Lane, St. Nicholas Drive, Mistletoe, Kris Kringle, Donnor and Blitzen to name a few. We also have the world’s largest Santa Claus statue, where tourist from all over the world pose to have their photograph taken. Our zip code, 99705, is known throughout the world as the zip code for Santa.
We have a Santa Claus House full of interesting toys for children of every age. Santa is available for picture taking even in July and outside the reindeer are standing by to be hand feed or have their picture taken. The shop is also a favorite among locals who enjoy quick holiday shopping trips while sipping a latte and selecting unique Alaskan tree ornaments to send to friends and family.
Santa? Really? Yes. There is truly a gentleman, living in North Pole, who legally had his name changed to Kris Kringle He does indeed, look like Santa , and doesn’t hesitate to pose for pictures, even in the middle of the grocery store, if asked. His smile puts young and old at ease.
Now, for the hard part. Where is Rudolph and do reindeer really know how to fly? Well, Rudolph is not kept with the other reindeer outside the Santa Claus House. It has been suggested that he is perhaps napping at another locale. As for the flying? I can honestly say reindeer do make the click, click, click, noise as they walk, but flying? The closest thing to flying I’ve seen has been watching reindeer as they glide over an obstacle, much like a deer as it jumps a fence. It’s truly an amazing sight.
So, the next time, a little one starts asking questions such as “Is there really a Santa, does Santa live in North Pole, is there a Santa Claus House,” just smile and answer “Yes.”