In a place where you can find a town called Santa Claus Indiana, Southern Indiana is particularly popular with the “Jolly Gentleman.” It is said the “real Santa” calls Santa Claus, Indiana his second home. Prior to Christmas, he returns to hear the wishes and dreams of all the children who meet him there. Could it be that while in Santa Claus, Indiana, the man in the big red suit ventures off to nearby towns for special visits there too? Who knows?! Perhaps he does. For us, we choose to Believe.
Here, we will outline a Santa Claus sighting expedition through Down Home Southern Indiana, highlighting several destinations where Kriss Kringle has been known to land his sleigh for a pre-Christmas visit.
Santa Claus, Indiana
We simply must start with Santa Claus, Indiana! This namesake town has Christmas-themed attractions year-round and seasonal events all over town during the holidays. The Santa Claus Museum & Village is the perfect place to write a letter to Santa as part of your weekend visit. The Evergreen Boutique & Christmas Shop, Santa’s Candy Castle, and Santa’s Toys are unique shops to find special gifts. Live reindeer, meetings and meals with Santa, train rides with a special Christmas mission, spectacular light displays, parade, and fireworks are scheduled throughout the holidays. The spirit of Christmas can literally be found everywhere in Santa Claus, Indiana. Visitors should be aware that unlike most parts of Indiana, the town of Santa Claus is on Central Standard Time.
Let’s start with a magical train ride! The Santa Claus Flyer Train Ride runs through December 23. Passengers will help deliver Santa’s nice list, gathered in Santa Claus, Indiana of course, to the elves at their workshop. Cheerful holiday music and other seasonal sensations will delight everyone on this merry mission. The 30-minute rides begin at 5pm daily. Advanced tickets are advised.
The twinkle in Santa’s eyes must have been the inspiration for Santa Claus Land of Lights. This extraordinary holiday light adventure sets Lake Rudolph Campground and RV Resort aglow. Drive through this sparkling spectacle, and see a shining story about of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. Open now through December 27. Check here for exact schedule.
On Saturday, December 4, the sky will light up brighter than Rudolph’s nose with Christmas Fireworks. Have a blast, as the night sky explodes with Christmas color. Stay warm in your car. The Holiday World parking lot is the ideal spot to watch the fireworks while your car radio delivers the sounds of the season synced to the lights above.
Who doesn’t love a parade? Santa Claus certainly does! The annual Santa Claus Christmas Parade steps off on Saturday, Dec. 11 at 1pm. This free parade is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit with music, lights, and other delights. Santa himself will make an appearance. You might even see a reindeer. Elves too! In fact, take an “elfie selfie,” if you can.
On the Saturdays of December 11 and 18, see lights, lights, and more lights! Christmas Lake Village in Santa Claus, Indiana gives you nine miles of residential lights and themed displays. This renowned annual neighborhood light display is sure to dazzle you with presentations like you’ve never seen before. Arrive early. This famous illumination destination is popular.
Santa in Down Home Southern Indiana
On Saturday, December 4, Princeton will be bright with delight. The annual Princeton Lighted Christmas Parade takes a sparkling lap around the historic courthouse square. A special guest dressed in red is sure to be the headliner. Gather around the town. The parade starts at 5pm. Visitors should be aware that Princeton is also on CST.
On Saturday, December 4, Santa makes his way to Bedford’s Christmas Around the Square. His busy day includes photos with children bright-eyed with wishes and dreams. The “big man in red” will play a starring role in the Bedford Christmas Parade that steps off a 6pm. In addition to sessions with Santa, see live reindeer, shop the open-air Christmas market and take in the joyous holiday decorations and music. Food trucks will be on site to keep you going through the evening.
Sound the alarm! Santa is coming to the Vintage Fire Museum in Jeffersonville. On Saturday, December 11, visit with Santa, tell him your Christmas wishes, then receive a special gift. While there, your tiny “firefighters” will be delighted and excited to see the antique toy fire trucks on display. Spend a few hours. There is so much to see at the museum, too.
In West Baden, Santa will be stopping by the French Lick West Baden Visitor’s Center on two Saturdays, December 11 and 18. Get your photo taken with Santa Claus and stick around for cocoa, cookies, and craft-making. It is precious holiday memories in the making.
It is magical, but not a mystery. Santa Claus calls a special town in Southern Indiana his beloved second home. Explore Down Home Southern Indiana to discover what makes this area so remarkable that even Santa Claus visits and stays a while, every year. We consider that high praise. Because if Santa loves it, your family will too.