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Obviously around this time of the year, Santa and his minions will be out and about, finding out who is naughty and nice, and delivering presents.

However, the rest of the year he's back at his home. Where is that generally considered to be visitable?

Yes, in some traditions it's the 'North Pole', but I know at least one other country (Finland) has Rovaniemi as his home.

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Image source: Wikipedia

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You want to know where you can actually go and visit a location where something/himself is to be seen? –  uncovery Dec 17 '13 at 9:35
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I went to Rovaniemi in Finland two years ago for this purpose, but reading today, it appears that there are multiple locations that claim to be his home. So I figure I'd better start locating them for future trips :) –  Mark Mayo Dec 17 '13 at 9:36
    
Well, I accept that they claim to be his home, but do you need something to be there to be visited that looks anything like his home etc, or is it enough that they say simply that and nothing exists that could be visited except "a town"? –  uncovery Dec 17 '13 at 9:41
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the coca-cola factory, he's kept under lock and key by the faceless executives. –  Liam Dec 17 '13 at 14:57
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Santa Bin Laden lives in Saudi Arabia.. Don't know about the other one.. –  user1712 Dec 17 '13 at 20:32
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12 Answers

up vote 18 down vote accepted

I actually went to Rovaniemi two years ago, and visited Santa's home there, which sparked this initial question.

After hearing more about it today from a friend, that other places claim he has a different home, I figured I'd ask the question, and start researching too. It appears there's certainly several:

North America - both Canada and the US have traditions stating that Santa lives at the North Pole, and post goes to post code H0 H0 H0 (oddly, this is actually Montreal in Quebec). However there's no possibility of actually visiting a Santa at the North Pole, unless you bring your own. :(

Alaska - there's a town called "North Pole" there, which has a Santa Claus house, where Santa can be visited.

The Nordic regions - Each Nordic country claims they have Santa there - Norway claims he lives in Drøbak. In Denmark, they claim he lives in Greenland (near Uummannaq), in Sweden it's Mora, and in Finland either Korvatunturi or the place I visited - Rovaniemi.

(source: Wikipedia)

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Everybody knows that Santa's home is in Rovaniemi. –  Adnan Dec 17 '13 at 17:37
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Santa lives in Korvatunturi, all Finns know that. The trouble is, Korvatunturi is a small mountain with no good connections (Santa don't need any, he's got flying reindeers) and that keeps tourists away. So they built a tourist center in Rovaniemi, and faked that as Santa's real homeplace, but it is Korvatunturi. –  Esa Paulasto Dec 17 '13 at 21:04
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The magnetic north pole or the geographic north pole? –  hippietrail Dec 18 '13 at 3:58
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@hippietrail, geographical. –  Mark Mayo Dec 18 '13 at 4:32
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North Pole is a town in Alaska whose main business is about Santa Claus.

You can also visit the tomb of his ancestor, Saint Nicholas, at Demre in Turkey.

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In Ontario, a little south of what I would consider Northern Ontario, is a Santa's Village that is only open in the summer, though parts of it open briefly just before Christmas for SantaFest. Their tag line is

located half way between the equator and the North Pole, it’s where Santa spends the warm months relaxing and experiencing the joy of Christmas all summer long.

It's reasonably well-reviewed and is the top rated attraction in Bracebridge (a very tiny town in cottage country.)

The Canadian government has recently affirmed that Santa is Canadian and the North Pole is in Canada. Though the first claim was mostly to make another party look bad and the second was about shipping lanes and territory, but what the heck. The US got quite bent out of shape about it and the Germans are trying to get UNESCO to declare Santa to be German. So be aware that your geographical quest could turn political unless you're happy with many simultaneously true answers.

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Daaa! Came here to post this. –  sixtyfootersdude Dec 17 '13 at 17:02
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Since Santa is a multi hybrid which all leads back to the Germanic god Odin. In pre-christian Europe it was the common believe that Odin was traveling with his flying eight-legged horse Sleipnir. Also in the pre-christian Europe the germanic people celebrated Yule on midwinter day. It was this celebration that was used to christianize Europe. A spar with lights so common in current Christmas tradition comes from this Yule festival.

Odin (Source: Wikipedia)

In a christian europe, Saint Nicholas took the role of the roof walking saint throwing gifts through the chimneys. Saint Nicholas up until today is celibrated in various forms throughout Europe. In Austria Saint Nicholas is assisted by devil like figures called Krampus and in the Netherlands and Belgium Saint Nicholas is called "Sinterklaas" and has various helpers called "black petes". It is this figure that become the role model for Santa Claus. After the exchange of New York for Suriname between the English and the Dutch, Sinterklaas kept being celebrated and finally got transformed into Santa Claus.

Having this brief trip to history, to answer your question you have quite some options to visit Santa's house if you like. Ofcourse you can visit the ones already being mentioned, but since many of us avid travelers it is always nice to have multiple options. In the Netherlands the story is that sinterklaas comes from Spain. Why Sinterklaas comes from Spain remains a mystery. It might had to do with the spanish rule in the Netherlands. In their anthem, the Dutch are still loyal to the spanish king.

The most real figure is Saint Nicolas himself. He was the figure used to terminate the pegan worship of Odin. Visiting his "house" can be done in Myra, Turkey

Since, Santa is a fictional figure that still has its houses (see earlier houses), I would state that houses dedicated to Odin, which in the end is the "real" Santa Clause, I would consider the Rosala Viking Center a Santa Clause house as well.

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The Basilica of Saint Nicholas in Bari, Italy.

Saint Nicholas Church in Myra, Turkey.

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There's Santa's Village in New Hampshire, USA.
It is a theme park which is mostly open during the summer months (but also on weekends throughout the fall and winter months).
There is a Santa Claus who lives there and greets guests, and the entire park is North Pole/Santa themed.

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a more detailed post would be welcome (with a description of this village, what would make it Santa's home, ...) –  Vince Dec 17 '13 at 14:51
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There's a "Santa's Village" in almost every major mall across the US at this time of year. =/ –  Brian S Dec 17 '13 at 15:08
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Hopefully clarified. –  Josh Dec 17 '13 at 16:24
    
There's also Santa Clause, IN if you want an entire town (go to santaclausind.org for more information). –  bryanjonker Dec 17 '13 at 18:18
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Here in the United Kingdom we look forward to a visit from Father Christmas who has become associated with the American Santa Claus. We always refer to him living in Lapland. This question is the first time that I've heard of him living in a very specific part of Lapland - Rovaniemi.

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According to Finnish folklore, his original home is on Korvatunturi fell. They'll admit as much, if you check out visitrovaniemi.fi/get-inspired/santa-claus for instance. –  t0mppa Dec 17 '13 at 20:39
    
@t0mmpa I don't think towns need to be pressed to “admit” this ;-) –  Annoyed Dec 17 '13 at 20:53
    
@Annoyed - the "admit" is quite a right word here. Santa lives in Korvatunturi, a small mountain with no good connections (Santa don't need any, he's got flying reindeers) and that keeps tourists away. So they built a tourist center in Rovaniemi, and faked that as Santa's real homeplace. Korvatunturi is the real one. –  Esa Paulasto Dec 17 '13 at 21:13
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@EsaPaulasto Well, “claim” might be a better way to put it, then. Typically, you “admit” things that are true but you wish weren't, not the other way around… –  Annoyed Dec 17 '13 at 21:27
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@Annoyed - Just a misunderstanding. The "they" refers to the people in Rovaniemi who "claim" Rovaniemi is the home of Santa's, but "admit" it is not true, Korvatunturi is the real one. –  Esa Paulasto Dec 17 '13 at 22:06
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Since Christmas and Santa Claus is today a commercial event, the true contemporary home is where christmas is produced, not where it historically may have originated. so obviously, Santa has moved to China in the meantime. Specifically, to Xitan, where annually over 62 Mio USD worth of Christmas decoration are made.

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Very surprised that nobody has mentioned Lapland yet.

Here in the UK, Santa (or Father Christmas) is said to live in both the North Pole and in Lapland. The Noth Pole has already been covered by another answer though, so I'll give Lapland as my answer.

I don't know of any historical connections that would tie him to Lapland, so my guess is that this legend is probably largely due to the fact of reindeer being native to Lapland.

There's a fairly big tourist industry revolving around this, so I'm surprised nobody else has mentioned it yet.

Oh, and co-incidentally, Lapland is part of Finland... which brings us neatly back to the original question.

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There is a Santa Claus Lane in Carpinteria, CA, a little South of Santa Barbara. I don't know of a building to visit that is in the theme, however

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Another option: Santa Claus, Indiana - they've got Christmas and holiday-themed stuff year round, as well as a theme park called Holiday World.

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"Santa" being an invention of the Coca-Cola company, so his home would be: St Louis, Misouri, USA.

See The true history of the modern day santa clause

The Coca-Cola Company began its Christmas advertising in the 1920s with shopping-related ads in magazines like The Saturday Evening Post. The first Santa ads used a strict-looking Claus, in the vein of Thomas Nast.

In 1930, artist Fred Mizen painted a department-store Santa in a crowd drinking a bottle of Coke. The ad featured the world's largest soda fountain, which was located in the department store Famous Barr Co. in St. Louis, Mo. Mizen's painting was used in print ads that Christmas season, appearing in The Saturday Evening Post in December 1930.

Saint Nicholas, was a greek from Myra:

Saint Nicholas of Myra was a 4th-century Greek Christian bishop of Myra (now Demre) in Lycia

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Santa Claus got introduced into the US by Dutch settlers in New York. Coca cola just exploited its "existence". Before Coca cola Santa Clause were green clothes, just as its Dutch equivalent Sinterklaas today. So coca cola is responsible for Santa color preference, not for its conception –  andra Dec 17 '13 at 15:33
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-1 The image of Santa Claus as a fat, bearded, furred elf in a reindeer-drawn sleigh originated in the 1820s, being popularized by Clement Clarke Moore's 1823 poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas." The modern image of Santa Claus is derived from Thomas Nast's illustrations of 1863 and onward. These images and their popularity long predate the Coca-Cola company. –  choster Dec 17 '13 at 15:40
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More to the point, perhaps, this doesn't answer the question of where you can find Santa Claus year-round. –  choster Dec 17 '13 at 20:19
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