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Where’d We Go: Santa Claus, Arizona


Christmas is in the air and I must get my wish list to Santa before its too late. If I want to get everything on my list including the new Aston Martin DB11 GT with a 5.2L twin turbo V12, then I must suffer the 5 and half hour drive to the north and visit Santa Claus, Arizona.

However, I think I was given the naughty list address because this was not a dreamland with reindeer, little elves and snow – there was graffiti, exposed rusted nails and what appeared to be an extraction of waste that was not from an animal. This place in fact has been abandoned for almost 50 years.


Just 14 miles northwest of Kingman, AZ the town Santa Claus was developed in the late 1930’s and was planned to be a full on Christmas theme desert oasis. In 1942, the town started to earn its highlights and became a popular tourist destination spot. Kids all around would mail their letters to the local post office there and in return they would stamp the letters with a return postage from Santa Claus, AZ. Dawwww.

By 1950, the town was sold off and the plans for the resort slowly diminished. The town continue to run a small restaurant called the Christmas Tree Inn and always received high recommendations. By the early 1970’s the town’s development closed and was therefore removed from the Arizona State Map. It was later put up for sale in the 1980’s but the $50,000 offer was declined from the original selling price of $95,000. Since then, the town is just made up of a couple of building along highway 93 between Kingman and Las Vegas.


My travel companion was the refreshed 2017 Ford Escape SE with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine. Its spirited chassis and peppy attitude made it suitable for the journey to get my letter to the office. Jamming through the SYNC3’s Apple CarPlay, I killed it at car karaoke. It’s a drive I’ve done many times and doesn’t require a ton of driving precision. Upon realizing that Santa will never get my letter, and my Aston Martin will have to wait till next year, I set out to eat my sorrows away  and dive head first into some Mexican food. I searched yelp to see what was in Kingman and El Palacio came up recommended with 4.5 stars – best chips I’ve ever had.

Upon returning to Phoenix, I was fine my letter didn’t get received, I enjoyed the journey and I enjoyed the Ford Escape – I averaged 25 mpg on the highway which I find impressive but still didn’t reach the EPA rating.

Arizona has another Santa location, called Christmas, Arizona… I bet that’s the Nice List location which is in the southeastern part of Arizona – complete opposite end. I’ll try again next year. Maybe I’ll want a Lamborghini instead then.



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