Earlier this year, we took a long weekend trip to Orlando, Florida. While we were there, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to explore Christmas, Florida. I’m a sucker for quirky small towns, and Christmas, Florida is no exception.
While there isn’t a ton to see in this unincorporated community of slightly more than 1,000 people, it’s a fun stop if you’re passing through the area. Located just twenty miles east of Orlando, Christmas is an easy stop if you’re on your way to Florida’s beautiful beaches or the Space Coast. A nativity scene and fake Christmas tree remain decorated all year long. And street signs that read Candy Cane, Frosty, Sleigh Bell, or Christmas Roads make for great photo ops.
Fun fact: Every year thousands of people from all over the country mail their holiday cards to the small town so they can be resent with postmarks from “Christmas.” This unique tradition began in 1930 when postmistress Juanita Tucker started postmarking items “Glory to God in the Highest—Christmas, Orange County, Florida,” according to Weird Florida.
The History of Fort Christmas
Regardless of the time of year that you visit, a stop at Fort Christmas in Christmas Park is a must. In December 1837, more than 2,000 U.S. Army Soldiers and Alabama volunteers began constructing the fort, which opened on Christmas Day. This was one of more than 200 forts built during the Second Seminole War, which lasted from 1835 – 1842. According to historic records, the fort was only occupied for a few weeks.
Today the 25-acre park houses a full-scale replica of Fort Christmas as well as a collection of historic buildings and homesteads as well as informational exhibits about the Second Seminole War. Fort Christmas is open 9 am until 4 pm Tuesday through Sunday and is closed on holidays (so visiting on Christmas Day may be festive but not ideal).
Sneak Peek: World’s Largest Alligator
Weirdly enough, Christmas, Florida is also home to the World’s Largest Alligator. Now the home of Jungle Adventures, Swampy is more than 25 years old and measures 200 feet and one inch long. Stay tuned for more on this ridiculously large reptile on Wandering the World’s Largest soon!
Have you ever visited a holiday themed town? What did you think?