The town’s drivable light show attraction
The town’s drivable light show attraction

Yes, There Really is a Santa Claus

Don’t believe it? Travel to Spencer County, Indiana this weekend and you’ll see. The southern Indiana county is home to the small town of Santa Claus which, as you might expect, is a hotbed of seasonal activity this time of year. Here, three Christmastime diversions happening this weekend in the town named for the North Pole’s most famous resident:

  1. Das Nikolausfest: St. Nicholas Catholic Church (180 N. Holiday Blvd., 812-937-2385) hosts a German-themed celebration featuring German cuisine and live music. Storytelling and art projects are among the children’s activities ongoing through the weekend. From 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8 and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 9. For more information, click here.
  2. Land of Lights display: The annual electric extravaganza—billed as one of the largest outdoor holiday light displays in North America—is plugged in every evening at 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday, at the Lake Rudolph Campground and RV Resort. Drive the 1.2-mile route through the grounds and you’ll take in thousands of lights, including the entire story of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer as told in sparkly LED displays. Admission is $15 per vehicle. For more information, call 877-478-3657 or click here.
  3. Free holiday organ concert: At 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, Nathan Held will perform on the antique organ (it dates back to the 1800s) in the 132-year-old Santa Claus Church in the Santa Claus Museum and Village (69 N. State Rd. 245). This isn’t a formal sit down and pay rapt attention concert; visitors are free to explore the church and the museum, which chronicles the history of Santa Claus, Indiana, while the organ peals with the sounds of the season. For more information, call 812-544-2434 or click here.

GO Santa Claus, Indiana. 888-444-9252,

Where to stay: The Silent Night Vacation Rentals (1182 S. Clubhouse Rd., 812-686-2607, are two- and three-bedroom condos with full kitchens and golf course views; rentals are $195 a night. North Star Vacation Rentals (55 and 57 N. Holiday Blvd., 812-937-7099, offers the Gingerbread House and the Mistletoe Bungalow, both equipped with a full kitchen and within walking distance of downtown Santa Claus; rates range from $200 to $225 a night.

Where to eat: New Boston Tavern (11886 N. State Rd. 545, New Boston, 812-547-5539) is a favorite among locals for catfish and pork chop dinners. Buffalo Run Farm, Grill & Gifts (3804 State Rd. 162, Lincoln City, 812-937-2799, specializes in bison meat and has a gift shop of Native American crafts.


Photograph: Courtesy of the Santa Claus Convention and Visitors’ Bureau