An Afternoon in Christmas, Florida

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Blitzen. Antler. Comet. Bethlehem. St. Nicholas. All street names that would normally seem out of place, but not when you’re in the town of Christmas, Florida.

When I made a visit to Florida in August, knowing that I love off-beat destinations, a friend recommended that I check out the town of Christmas. Located about 25 miles east of Orlando, the town received this name because of US Army soldiers and Alabama volunteers that constructed the appropiately named Fort Christmas on December 25, 1837. The fort is one of over 200 built during the Second Seminole Indian War.

There isn’t a lot to see in Christmas, having a population of a little over a thousand, but the community has very much embraced its namesake. A few highlights to check out:

Christmas Post Office

Throughout the year the small post office is a quiet place, but begins to bustle with activity as December approaches. People come from all around to have their Christmas cards and other holiday mail postmarked with “Christmas, Florida”. It is decorated for the holidays year round with a wreath on the outside and a Christmas tree in the lobby.

Even if you don’t find yourself in Christmas during the holiday season, it’s still fun to send out a postcard or get your own postmark from the unique post office.

Permanent Christmas Tree

Right at the entrance of town you’re greeted by a permanent Christmas Tree display with a miniature Santa statue and reindeer sleigh. The community very much embraces the spirit behind the name of their town and they wish to convey it to all who visit. The sign at the permanent tree reads:

“The permanent Christmas tree at Christmas Florida is the symbol of love and good will: the Christmas Spirit every day in the year.”

Swampy the Alligator

With a visit to Christmas, you are also presented with the opportunity to visit Swampy, the World’s Largest Alligator. Being a lover of roadside attractions, for me this was one of the main draws of Christmas. Inside the 200-foot alligator shaped building is the offices and gift shop of Jungle Adventures Nature Animal Park, which offers tours of an Indian Village and animal shows that include native Florida bears and other injured or thrown-away exotic pets.

Christmas is certainly a small town that can get lost in the abundance of Florida attractions, but I highly recommend a quick stop if you enjoy quirky, off-beat places!

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Christmas, Florida