Is there anywhere better to celebrate the holidays than the north? It’s closer to the North Pole. It’s almost guaranteed a winter wonderland. And, there are plenty of holiday activities in Alaska and the Yukon.

Gathering and activities are different in 2020. But here’s a look at some of the typical events.

North Pole

It’s Christmas year round in North Pole, Alaska. Visit during December for an even heavier dose of holiday activities.

Santa is of course in residence at the Santa Claus house year round. You’ll also find fudge, decorations, and other Christmas gifts here any time of year. Stay in the Hotel North Pole’s Santa Claus room to sleep in a Christmas-themed environment and get a visit from the jolly old man himself. He’ll pop in and read “The Night Before Christmas” aloud to guests over milk and cookies.

Right next to the Santa Claus house is the Antler Academy of Flying & Reindeer Games. Visitors to this gem can meet Santa’s reindeer.

Also near the Santa Claus House is Christmas in Ice. The winter ice park features ice art competition pieces, ice slides, a maze, and more.

Holiday Train

Santa uses a sleigh, but we think you’ll find the Alaska Railroad Holiday Train is warmer and more comfortable for the whole family. The train trips run twice daily out of Anchorage. The trips include a coloring contest, holiday carolers, a magician, door prizes, and a visit from Santa Claus.

Gingerbread Village

If you’re wandering through downtown Anchorage enjoying the lights and decorations, stop in The Hotel Captain Cook. Pastry Chef Joe Hickel builds a massive gingerbread village each year in the lobby of the hotel, just outside the Whales Tail restaurant. There’s no cost to stop in and marvel at the sweet creation.

gingerbread village at hotel captain cook
The gingerbread village at The Hotel Captain Cook. Photo by Joseph / Wikimedia Commons.

Bird Counting

If you’re less excited about light displays and more excited about natural beauty, this might be for you. Each year, the Audubon society and Bird Studies Canada host a Christmas bird count. People in Alaska and the Yukon take part in this annual tradition, which celebrates birds and helps track bird populations.

Festival in Whitehorse

Whitehorse is home to a giant Christmas tree adorned with tens of thousands of lights each December. The lighting of the tree takes places in early December in front of the White Pass building.

The tree lighting is part of the Winterval Festival, which includes a parade and, of course, Santa Claus.

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