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Carlo Klemm

Residents of Santa Claus take low-key approach to Christmas season

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Carlo Klemm

Residents of Santa Claus take low key approach to Christmas Season

December 20, 2009




SANTA CLAUS — Santa Claus was closed, locked up tight. City Hall was anyway, empty as a naughty kid’s stocking.

Here it was barely a week before Christmas and the town with the city-limits sign that is more declaration than municipal marker — “Santa Claus ... The City That Loves Children” — wasn’t exactly bustling. Even at 25 December Drive, Santa Claus City Hall, where the decorations never come down.


This time of year, folks leave their Christmas cards in a drop box on the front door. (If you do, they will stamp on a just-for-fun, red-inked postmark featuring St. Nick himself and send the card on its way.)

As of last week, they had handled 1,010 cards.

“One person called me up from a church and wanted to know if we could stamp 3,000,” Mayor Earl Horton Jr. said. “I had to call her back and tell her we weren’t equipped to do that.


The town of 250 or so people, 67 houses and some apartments sprouted from a pecan grove along the east shoulder of U.S. 1, near Vidalia, about halfway between Savannah and Macon, in 1941. The merry moniker was a ploy to reel in tourists so they’d buy the local nuts.

Going on 70 years later, what remains is a subdivision-size curiosity with a convenience store. The Santa Claus Minit Mart to be precise, where the drink cooler is no doubt as chilling as the North Pole.


Still, there are perks to telling folks you live in Santa Claus.

“You always get a smile,” said Helen Wright, who moved to the Kris Kringle community in the 1970s and whose front yard features a palm tree growing next to a pecan tree.

“Palm trees and Santa Claus,” Wright said.

Pop into the neighborhood this time of year and you’re about as likely to see “Happy Birthday Jesus” and “Christmas is about Jesus” signs in front of houses as you are inflatable snowmen.

“Everybody, as far as I know, believes in Jesus and believes in Santa Claus,” said Ward, who lives on Reindeer Street. “We have neighbors that are neighbors, but they’re not nosy neighbors.”

SOURCE: http://www.macon.com...nk=omni_popular

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