What Christmas Is Really Like in North Pole, Alaska
The North Pole is not only real, but with the motto "Where the spirit of Christmas lives year 'round," the small Alaskan city is just as magical as you'd expect.
Home to the Santa Claus House where children's letters are received and promptly answered, candy cane-striped street lights lining Santa Claus Lane and St. Nicholas Drive, not to mention a 45-foot-tall Santa welcoming visitors, it's safe to say the 2,200 residents of North Pole dream of sugar plum fairies on a nightly basis.
"The spirit of Christmas lives year 'round here, we really believe that," Keith Fye, who runs North Pole's Christmas in Ice park, told GoodMorningAmerica.com. "People are much more polite and happy around this town."
The elaborate ice park is the town's main hub, according to Mayor Bryce Ward, with its holiday-themed sculptures and life-size ice slides for families to play on.
"Everything happens at the ice park," Ward said. "It's the central downtown area for what happens around Christmas time."
Fye agrees, explaining that the town near Fairbanks has had visitors not only from 37 different states, but also plenty of international guests as well.
"We've had people this year from Australia, Japan, Bosnia, Ireland, Nova Scotia and Russia," said Fye. "It's totally amazing."
And if you make the trip to visit the real-life North Pole, it would be hard to miss seeing jolly old St. Nick. There are three white-whiskered men who don the big red suit, one of whom, the president of the local chamber of commerce, even legally changed his name to Santa Claus.
"There's several Santa Claus' in town. And they all have different jobs," Ward explained, adding, "When you put on the suit, you have to take on these special responsibilities."
So hop in the sleigh and make your way North, because, Fye says, "When it's Christmas time, it's just a joyful time."