Painful Truth: Living in Christmas, all year long

There are places where people live in Christmas all year long. Literally.

Go around the world, and you can find places named or associated with Christmas. Many of them are as far as possible from what we imagine when we think of the Christmas season, but they nevertheless share a connection with it.

• Christmas Island is an Australian possession tucked up just underneath the southern edge of Indonesia.

A mountainous tropical island, it was named for the day it was spotted by European explorers in the 1600s. Since then, it has been used primarily as a site of mineral extraction, which led to the Japanese invading it during the Second World War. They arrived just after a mutiny that saw all the British officers and NCOs (all five of them) killed by a small number of Indian colonial troops.

It currently has a very small population of about 2,000 people.

• Kirimati Island is basically Christmas Island Two. A Polynesian island, it was uninhabited when Capt. James Cook arrived on (of course) Christmas Eve in 1777. The name is a local translation of the word for Christmas.

It was also occupied by the Allies during the Second World War, and later the British decided it would be a dandy place to test their H-bombs in the 1960s. They did not evacuate the population of mostly South Sea Islanders at that time.

• Christmas, Florida., is a town of about 1,000 people near Orlando. It was originally called Fort Christmas, after the U.S. Army established a presence there in the early 1800s and its soldiers started building on… well, I’m pretty sure you can guess.

Christmas, Fla. is apparently the home of the largest alligator-shaped building in the world. That has nothing to do with the season, but I include the fact here because A) that is awesome, and B) I am amazed that there is a competition for this distinction. Is the town with the second-biggest alligator shaped building even now considering a remodel to win the title for themselves?

This Florida town becomes very popular early in December when people line up at the local post office to send postcards and holiday greetings that will officially come from “Christmas.”

• Rudolph, Wisconsin, is a village with just over 430 residents, and its website and town signs are covered with images of a certain red nosed reindeer.

However, the town’s name seems to go back centuries. According to their municipal website, Rudolph was the name of one of the first white settlers born in the area. Though there isn’t a date given, I’d guess that would mean the 1800s, at least, a long time before the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer story, song, and Rankin-Bass TV special were created in the mid-20th century.

Nevertheless, the town of Rudolph seems to have no problem being associated with Christmas. They’d also like you to know that the local dairy produces “over 100 varieties of cheeses” including “novelty cheeses.” No word if any of them glow.

There are hundreds of other Christmas-themed names around the world that have some Christmas association, from Noel, Missouri to Egg Nog, Utah, to Santa Claus, Indiana, and even places like Conception Bay in Canada have a glancing association. There’s even a town called Claxton in Georgia (no relation) that is named for the Claxton Fruitcake Company’s factory, which, in its own small way, exported Christmas to all those places not fortunate enough to be named for the holiday.



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