Photo Credit: https://www.florida-backroads-travel.com/
Yes, you read right.
We have an actual town named Christmas right here in sunny Florida. It is a community of about 1,000 people on Florida State Road 50 about 24 miles east of Orlando. It is located 16 miles west of the Space Coast and Kennedy Space Center.
The town’s name comes from when 2,000 U.S. Army soldiers and Alabama Volunteers arrived in this area and started building the fort. The date was December 25, 1837. The soldiers decided to name it “Fort Christmas” for the day of their arrival. Today, you can visit a full-scale replica of the fort they built, located less than 1 mile away from the original. The replica was built by Orange County Parks and Recreation in cooperation with the Fort Christmas Historical Society in the late 1970s.
The first United States Post Office in Christmas was established in 1892. Since then, the original post offices have been replaced by a more modern version. Every year, people come from all over the country to get their Christmas cards postmarked, “Christmas, Florida.” A man dressed as Santa Claus will sit in the lobby of the post office and personally stamp Christmas cards and packages. (Head on over one year if you want to get the Christmas experience!)
The Christmas Post Office is located at 25380 E. Colonial Drive (State Road 50). Hours of operation are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9:30 a.m. to noon Saturday.
The different roads in Christmas are also appropriately named Cupid, Blitzen and St. Nicholas Avenues, as well as Rudolph and Dasher Streets.
Christmas, Florida is home to the longest and largest (fake) alligator in the world. The “alligator” named Swampy is actually a 200-foot building that looks like a gator. Swampy is home to Jungle Adventures, a natural-habitat home to many native Florida animals as well as being a popular tourist attraction.
Here at Christmas, many people are alligator wranglers, catching and trapping alligators that are killed (humanely) and skinned to later be sold to local seafood restaurants for people to eat or for people that do taxidermy as a hobby.
The town of Christmas is also well-known in pop culture. It is the birthplace of American sculptor Hughlette “Tex” Wheeler, who is best known for his work on a bronze statue of the famous racehorse, Seabiscuit. Wheeler made the molds for the statue while the horse was still alive, careful to take precise measurements when he did so. Wheeler’s family had settled in the area around the time of the American Civil War and he worked in his youth as a real cowboy. His parents saw his talent and potential as a sculptor, however, and sent him to study at the Cleveland School of the Arts. Tex Wheeler is buried in the Fort Christmas Cemetery.
Christmas is also one of the many settings of the 2008 book by John Green, “Paper Towns.” In the book, the main protagonist Quentin “Q” Jacobsen goes on a road trip with three other friends from Orlando, Florida to find out what happened to his friend and childhood sweetheart Margo Roth Spiegelman. While traveling, they come across a mini-mall in Christmas where they find out clues about what happened to her.
So, if you’re ever traveling between Orlando and Titusville, make sure to stop by the town of Christmas. Especially during the holiday season. You won’t regret it.
Mike has more than 30 years of experience in marketing and public relations. He once owned his own agency and has worked with some of the largest brands in the world.