The History of Christmas, Michigan
According to a poll taken earlier this year, Christmas is the favorite town name in the Upper Peninsula.
Here is a map of Christmas for those of you from outside of the Upper Peninsula who may not be familiar with Christmas. It is located NW of Munising, about a 5-minute drive along M-28.
The town of Christmas has booming population of about 400. Ok, perhaps it’s not “booming”, but on a business night at the Kewadin Casino (by far the largest building in town that looks kind of strange and out of place in such a small town) the population probably grows by some pretty significant percentage points.
According to Exploring the North the town was given its name in 1938 when a Munising man started a roadside factory to make holiday gifts.
Christmas’ zip code is 49862, and many letters have come from there since 1966 when the town received it’s first Post Office. From that point forward many people have showed up in the month of December to mail their Christmas cards and presents so they would be postmarked coming from Christmas.
Christmas is also located near the Bay Furnace campgrounds on Lake Superior in the Hiawatha National Forest. From 1869 to 1877, the campground was the site of Onota, an iron smelting town with a population of 517. The town was destroyed by fire in 1877 and only the iron kiln ruins remain. While in operation, Bay Furnace produced 20 tons of pig iron a day. Ships came to the 1200 foot dock bringing supplies and taking out pig iron. Bay Furnace is on the National Register of Historic Places.
And of course, anyone who has driven through Christmas hasn’t missed the 35-foot tall Santa Claus.
The town of Christmas isn’t unique to Michigan. But as far as I know Michigan’s Christmas is the only one with a 35-foot tall Santa Claus. Here is a list of 8 other Christmas towns.
- Christmas, Arizona
- Christmas, Florida
- Christmas, Kentucky
- Christmas, Mississippi
- Christmas City, Utah
- Christmas Cove, Maine
- Christmas Valley, Oregon
- Christmasville, Tennessee
There is also a slough of other towns with Christmas-related names such as Noel, Holiday, Santa, North Pole, Mistletoe, and many more.