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, (CST)
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 a magical 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, spectacular light displays, a parade, and much more merriment 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.
The twinkle in Santa’s eyes must have been the inspiration for Santa Claus Land of Lights. This extraordinary holiday light adventure sets Sun Outdoors Lake Rudolph aglow. Drive through this sparkling spectacle, and see a shining story about of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. Discounts available. Open now through December 23.
Surprise the kids with a Christmas Dinner with Santa at the Celebration Room at Santa’s Lodge on December 1 and 2. Better than Ho-Ho-Home made, the buffet will offer family-friendly foods your kids will love. Dinner includes a visit and photo with Santa, followed by story-time with the jolly guy in red.
Who doesn’t love a parade? Santa Claus certainly does! The annual Santa Claus Christmas Parade steps off on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 1pm. This free parade is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit with music, lights, and other delights. Santa, the main man himself, will make an appearance. You might even see a reindeer. Elves too! In fact, take an “elfie selfie,” if you can.
On Saturdays December 9 and 16, your family will be excited to be de-“lighted”! 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 front-lawn decorations that defy even the wildest imaginations. Arrive early. This famous illumination destination is popular.
Santa in Down Home Southern Indiana
The historic and famous resorts, French Lick Resort and West Baden Springs Hotel, will host the magical 50 Days of Lights. From November 11 through January 7, this holiday celebration will include a half-million twinkling lights, a life-sized Christmas Village, soaring trees decorated in stunning Victorian styles, traditional carolers, baking with Mrs. Claus, family holiday movie screenings, pictures with Santa, and a long list of events and activities. Children of all ages will be amazed by the projected animated Christmas story, shown on the outside of the French Lick Hotel. You’ll find extra-ordinary holiday memory-making, at this special Southern Indiana destination.
See Santa decked out in lights at Ritzy’s Fantasy of Lights in Evansville. Garvin Park has been transformed into a fantasyland with more than 80 spectacular light displays, some 25 feet tall! Open November 23 through January 1.
Visit Jasper from Friday through Sunday, December 1 – 3, for O’Tannenbaum Days. Discover this charming town as you shop and take carriage rides around the square. Visit with Santa and have fun doing all of the holiday activities offered. Stop at Cabby Gym for a Holiday Bazaar and check out the Dubois County Museum holiday exhibits and activities including storytime, live music, cookie-making, Christmas trees, and a man dressed in red.
On Saturday, December 2, Princeton will be bright with holiday cheer. 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 Friday and Saturday, December 1 and 2, Santa makes his way to Bedford’s Christmas Around the Square. His busy day includes free 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 9, visit with Santa, share 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.
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.
Here is a complete list of holiday events in Southern Indiana.
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