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I may have already started on the holiday music and movies, but all year long? No thanks

INTERNET PHOTO - Santa Claus, Indiana, has had a full-time Christmas town for decades.

Nestled between Evansville, Indiana and Louisville, Kentucky, just a few miles to the south of I64 lies a small but special community.

It might as well have a red and white striped north pole piercing its city center, where all of its 2,600 residents can see it.

Readers, I present the community of Santa Claus, Indiana, a town in which it's Christmastime, all the time — Grinches and Scrooges, look away!

According to Wikipedia folklore, the community, established in 1854, did not start out as a 365-day-a-year beacon of Yuletide spirit. Nope, they tried to name the town Santa Fe — but the Post Office Department shut down that idea. "There's already a Santa Fe in New Mexico," they groused (and yet there are more than 30 Springfields in the U.S., but I digress). So, in a series of town meetings that I would invent time travel to attend, the folks in the unnamed Indiana community decided to go with Santa Claus.

Were they trying to stick it to the Post Office Department — "See, you should have said yes to Santa Fe!" — or did a few folks in attendance, buzzed on some spiked eggnog, raise their hands and say, "Let's call it Santa Claus!" Whatever the inspiration, the name stuck and through the years, the town has fully embraced its namesake.

I once watched a documentary on the town, and the degree to which its residents continuously celebrate Christmas is mind-boggling. Picture an explosion of red, green and white on every street with wreaths and garland galore. Santa likenesses in all shapes and sizes are plentiful as are numerous Yuletide symbols from trees and reindeer to nutcracker figurines.

And since the Post Office Department accepted Santa Claus over Santa Fe all those years ago, mail carriers deliver thousands of Santa letters to the local post office each year. And rather than forward them to the North Pole, a group of volunteers, known as Santa's Elves, ensures each child receives a reply from Jolly Old Saint Nick. The tradition is more than 100 years old!

I should acknowledge, before I go any further, that I am one of the biggest Christmas junkies I know. I eagerly await the moment I can put away the Halloween candy and break out the eggnog and candy canes. I hunted for the holiday-themed satellite radio stations — which were launched on Nov. 1 to cater to freaks like me — and I will be rocking the Christmas tunes as I drive for the next two months. I won't make it until Thanksgiving without watching a holiday movie — I'm thinking I might start things off with "Home Alone" this year. Yep, I'm one of those people.

But…I just don't think I could handle living in Santa Claus, Indiana. Yes, I dive headlong into the Christmas season seven weeks before the big day, but every…single…day? I would fear for my sanity.

Look, as much as I dig the Christmas season, it's called a season for a reason. It has to go away for a while so that we can get excited about it when it comes back. In the same way that you can't eat candy all the time, it just seems enormously challenging to celebrate a holiday year-round — too much metaphorical sugar just doesn't seem healthy to me.

I happen to like each of the four seasons for different reasons. I love the hot, sunny days of summer, but am glad to see fall arrive with its multi-color foliage and cooler temps. I love a good snowfall and scooting close to a wood burning stove but celebrate when the final frosty days of winter give way to the warmth of spring. Christmas is great — it's my favorite — but the other holidays deserve their moment as well.

So yes, I may have a greater-than-average fixation on Christmastime, but I can at least look at the good folks who have chosen to live in Santa Claus, Indiana and know that I am not the most Christmas-crazy fellow out there — far from it.

Anyway, gotta go. It's time for some hot cocoa and a candy cane.


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