People & Places with Pierce: Santa Claus, Georgia

Sue Grisham, secretary for the City of Santa Claus, says simply: “We love this city. I’ve been here most of my adult life. My children grew up here.”

Love where you live. It’s a life many of us strive for and living in a place like:

“Santa Claus, Georgia,” continued Grisham.

It’s easy for the 175 Santa Claus residents to say they have it.

“We just love Santa Claus,” said Grisham. “All the streets are named for Christmas. City Hall, the gift shop of course, and the community center are always decorated for Christmas.”

That Christmas charm draws in people from near and far. People like Theresa Carcioppolo, the self-proclaimed queen of Christmas, who visited the town from Paulding County, GA.

“I have over 20 Christmas trees,” said Carcioppolo. “They’re all themed. I made an hour detour to come here on my way down to Miami. So I’m the cheesy tourist that went around and took pictures of all of the street signs. It’s so cute.”

Becoming a tourist destination is just how this city got its name, sort of.

“Santa Claus, Georgia is on U.S 1,” explained Grisham. “It was very heavily traveled back in the forties. In 1941, this was a great big pecan orchard. This guy named Calvin Green had a stand down on the highway to sell his pecans. Well, he was trying to think of a good way to market them. He came up with the idea of Santa Claus. And in 1941, we were incorporated as a city.”

Hundreds of people visit the town of Santa Claus every year, many of them to drop off their Christmas cards and letters to Santa. And while there’s no official post office in town, if you drop your letter off in Santa’s mailbox, a little magic happens.

“I stamp Christmas cards,” said Grisham. “They can bring the cards to me, and I stamp them and take them into Lyons. Last year, I got in 2315 cards that I hand stamped.”

“I have over 30 Girl Scouts,” said Carcioppolo. “They’re all going to say they came from Santa Claus, Georgia.”

“Hopefully we give some other people some joy from Santa Claus,” said Grisham.

“Celebrate Christmas for everything that it’s worth,” said 
Carcioppolo. “It’s not all about the gift giving. Sometimes it’s just spending time with family and going and seeing what’s out there.”

And if you’re out in South Georgia, Santa Claus is waiting for you.

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