Santa’s a great selling point for these Christmas-themed towns

Santa Claus, Indiana and Frankenmuth, Michigan take love of holiday to Griswoldian levels


There is a place where it’s Christmas 365 days a year.

Well, make that at least two places.

And according to the New York Times, creating a Yuletide-themed town has been merry for the pandemic-era real estate business in Santa Claus, Indiana and Frankenmuth, Michigan — two towns that have taken their love of the holiday to Griswoldian levels.

Both lit up their homes and commercial strips for the holidays and never took the decorations down not out of laziness, but to inspire residents with a feel-good theme 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week.

And it doesn’t stop with the decor. Streets in Santa Claus, which calls itself “America’s Christmas Hometown,” are named for St. Nick’s reindeer (Donder Lane), religious symbolism (Noel West), fun winter pastimes (Sled Run) and lyrics from popular music (Chestnut By The Fire). Frankenmuth, meanwhile, is home to the self-proclaimed world’s largest Christmas store, Christmas Wonderland, and has an amply lit Main Street that was used for filming the 2019 TV film “A Christmas Movie Christmas.”

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So it’s not surprising that when pandemic-era doldrums and work-from-home mandates kicked in, some buyers were drawn to places like these, where good cheer is a selling point.

That meant more than $15 million in business this year for JMW Real Estate in Frankenmuth — up 50 percent from 2019, according to the Times — with prices jumping between 12 and 20 percent.

Over in Santa Claus, 50 new homes have been built in the subdivision known as Christmas Lake Village, where two or three usually go up annually. And only five homes were available for purchase in mid-November when there are typically 20 or 30 for sale at any given time.

Of course, the Christmas theme isn’t the only draw to these towns. Both promote themselves as having a great school system, helping to bring in young families, and Frankenmuth is close enough to Detroit to feel like a suburb of the Motor City.

But not every Santa-themed town is the best present under the tree: There has not been an uptick in real estate sales this year in North Pole, Alaska — whose motto is “where the spirit of Christmas lives year round,” according to the newspaper — but that might have something to do with the fact the temperature there over the next 10 days. To steal a phrase, baby, it’s cold outside.

[New York Times] — Vince DiMiceli