Where Santa Claus Is Bringing More Residents to Town

Frankenmuth, Michigan

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Santa Claus, Ind., and Frankenmuth, Mich.—another Santa-inspired wonderland—have been booming since the start of the pandemic, The New York Times reports.

“We have a lot of people moving to Santa Claus from California, Illinois, and Minnesota,” Lisa Gengelbach, a broker at Key Associates, told The New York Times. “A lot of them are retiring here, but there are families coming, too. … The name of the community is what brings a lot of people here, and the feeling keeps them here. But it’s not over the top; it’s not gaudy. It’s not like everything is red and white.”

In Santa Claus, Ind., the street names have merry names—like Silver Bell Circle and Mistletoe Drive—and themed communities, like the gated community of Christmas Lake Village that has three lakes named Holly, Noel, and Christmas. The small-town appeal mixed with St. Nick statues around town and holiday-themed businesses, like Santa Claus Haus and Santa’s Candy Castle, have drawn some new residents in search of yearlong yuletide cheer during the pandemic.

“We looked at other towns near here that had equal value in terms of real estate, but they didn’t have that extra Santa thing,” Nancy Schwab, who relocated with her husband to Santa Claus, Ind., during the pandemic, told The New York Times. “That was the deciding factor. This is an enchanting, darling place—just Christmas all the time.”

Another Santa-inspired town, Frankenmuth, Mich., about 80 miles northwest of Detroit, has also seen new residents moving since the pandemic began.

“Either they had family ties here or they’d heard good things about it, and because of COVID, they could work from home,” Andrew Keller, an owner of JMW Real Estate, told The New York Times. Keller says he has had more than $15 million in business in Frankenmuth this year, about a 50% increase compared to 2019.