Inside the town called Santa Claus that celebrates Christmas 365 days a year

A small rural town which goes by the name of Santa Claus, with a population of less than 3,000 inhabitants, claims to be "America's Christmas Hometown".

The town, in the US state of Indiana, was originally established in the mid 1800s and was called Santa Fe.

In 1856 however, when the town tried to apply for a post office, the application was rejected as a Santa Fe, Indiana, already existed.

The Executive Director of the Spencer County Visitors Bureau, Melissa Arnold, told the Daily Star about how the residents eventually came to the decision to name their town Santa Claus.

She said: "A meeting was held on what to rename the town on Christmas Eve. During the meeting, the doors whooshed open, the children heard bells jingling and shouted 'Santa'.

"The residents took it as a sign and decided that should be the name of their town and that's how Santa Claus, Indiana was born."

The town's post office, over which the name was changed, also happens to be the only post office in the world that has Santa's name in it.

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Each year it receives thousands of letters from children addressed to Santa Claus and a group of volunteers known as Santa's Elves ensure each child gets a reply.

In 2018, more than 22,000 replies were sent to children around the world that had sent their letters to Father Christmas.

The town of Santa Claus, Indiana, is also the home of a man who claims to be the real life Santa Claus.

Speaking exclusively to the Daily Star, Santa Claus – who refuses to identify himself by any other human name – is hard at work throughout the year, meeting families and helping grant children's wishes.

He said: "Santa’s job goes beyond some time for visits in November and December, I meet with children and families year round here in Santa Claus, Indiana."

Although most children will ask for toys, Father Christmas has received some odd requests over the years, such as one boy who asked for a stick so that he could make himself a guitar, while another asked for an orange.

Sometimes Saint Nicholas receives really "heart-warming" requests too.

He explained: "Once a little girl asked me for a Barbie doll for her cousin because her cousin didn't have any toys. There was also one child who asked for a cure for childhood diabetes."

The toughest ones however are the ones who ask for him to bring back a parent or other loved one who has passed, he said.

The town has fully embraced its Christmas nature and apart from several Christmas themed stores, such as Santa's Candy Castle, tourists are also able to walk through Christmas named streets.

These include, Christmas Boulevard (the town's main street), Candy Cane Lane, Chestnuts By The Fire Road and Elf Lane.

The residents go a step further and even hold a Christmas parade, where people dress up in Christmas costumes and walk down the streets alongside giant floats, throwing sweets at people.

The town of Santa Claus is also famous for having the world's first ever theme park, which was built in 1946 – called Santa Claus Land.

Ms Arnold urged visitors to visit their small town which as she described: "Really embodies the Christmas spirit throughout the year and is a wonderful place to visit to get in the spirit and see the traditions."

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