The North Pole - History and Tradition

North Pole as Santa's Home - Origin

The traditional home of Santa Claus has been the North Pole for many years, this wintry locale is a remote region that few can reach and no other can live in. It is a powerful image, of a fantasy village deep in the coldest part of the planet, on top of the world.

The tradition appears to have begun in the mid-1800s. The illustrator Thomas Nash, a popular artist responsible for many of the early images of the modern Santa, also drew the concept of the North Pole containing Santa’s workshop. This likely came from an answer given to children, that Santa must live somewhere impossible to reach during his off season. Thus, the remote North Pole was selected, and the tradition born.

Several variations occur, of course. Many northern countries claim Santa actually lives in their region. The Lapland region of Finland, as the source of domesticated reindeer, often indicates that Santa must live there (as the reindeer could not graze in the icy tundra). The Santa Claus Village in that region is a popular tourist attraction. Canada has declared that Santa’s home is in their jurisdiction, and the Canadian postal code is H0H 0H0. A series of small mountains in Canada are also called the Christmas Mountains. As for the United States, Alaska has a city called North Pole whose zip code is considered the official Santa mailing address as well.

The United States also has a tradition of monitoring the North Pole every year, announcing the tracking of Santa on his delivery route. This tradition started from a time that a newspaper misprinted an Air Force base’s phone number in an ad for a store to “call Santa” and the base commander had the phone answered with information on Santa’s location.

This has spread to an effort including multiple websites and social media, and publicized announcements and phone work. The Canadian Air Force designates an honor guard to “escort” Santa through restricted airspaces and also reports information on his flight and destinations. Everyone tries to get in on helping Santa through his route.

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