Christmas, Michigan
· ·

Yes, There Really IS a Town Called Christmas in Michigan

The far reaches of the Upper Peninsula can often feel like the North Pole. Even though Michigan is not Santa’s home, there is a town named after Saint Nick’s favorite holiday. Christmas Michigan was once a town with a charming atmosphere and a commitment to celebrating all things merry and bright the entire year.

I was really disappointed when I drove through Christmas in the summer of 2023 – I almost missed that I was driving through the town… it’s definitely not the Christmas of years past. Here’s hoping someone comes into town and reinvigorates the festive spirit & helps this town live up to its namesake.

Christmas, Michigan
Christmas, Michigan

Where Is Christmas Michigan?

Christmas is a small town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and is home to just 400 residents. It is situated on the shores of Lake Superior in the northwest corner of the peninsula.

Most people will tell you that you can find this town between Munising and Au Train, which are two larger, more well-known communities in the Upper Peninsula.

However, it’s impossible to miss this town when you are driving by — you are greeted by a larger-than-life roadside Santa Claus statue, so you’ll instantly know you have found the right place.

Christmas, Michigan
Christmas, Michigan | photo via KiwiDeaPi

The History of Christmas Michigan

Today, the town of Christmas is a welcoming community with an intimate atmosphere. Its residents know that the history of the town is rooted in all things Christmas, which is why they are willing to continue the tradition of honoring the December 25th holiday all year.

Christmas Michigan was founded in 1938 after a local man established a factory in which the workers made Christmas gifts and decorations.

At the time, the town was known as Onota, but some other locals decided to rename it after the Christmas factory in hopes of positioning it as a winter vacation destination in Michigan. The factory that started it all is no longer standing.

Things to Do Near Christmas Michigan

Christmas Michigan is a sleepy town on the shores of Lake Superior, but there are still plenty of things for the entire family to enjoy near this small Upper Peninsula town. These are the best attractions near Christmas Michigan.

Bay Furnace Park - Christmas, Michigan
Bay Furnace | photo via @sbohon1

Visit Bay Furnace Historic Site & Interpretive Trail

Bay Furnace is a historic site located near Christmas within the Hiawatha National Forest. It is particularly notable for its role in the iron smelting industry during the 19th century. The site is named after the Bay Furnace which was operational from 1869 to 1877. This blast furnace was used to produce iron from ore, contributing to the booming iron industry that was vital to the growth and development of the United States during that period.

The furnace itself and the community that grew around it were part of a larger movement of industrialization and settlement in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This area was rich in natural resources, including vast forests and significant deposits of iron ore, which attracted industrialists and workers, leading to the establishment of towns and industries.

Unfortunately, the Bay Furnace operation was short-lived. In 1877, a fire destroyed much of the town, and the furnace operations were not rebuilt. Today, what remains of the Bay Furnace is preserved as a historical site, offering visitors a glimpse into the past and the early industrial history of the region. There are interpretive signs that provide information about the site’s history and the process of iron smelting. The site also includes the ruins of the furnace itself, which visitors can view and explore.

While you can learn more about the ruins of this incredible furnace, you can also walk the trails and absorb the sweeping views of the mighty Lake Superior. This remote park offers peace, privacy, and panoramic vistas that cannot be found anywhere else in the Upper Peninsula.

Grand Island Harbor Rear Range Light, Christmas Michigan
Christmas Lighthouse | photo via swalestudio

Go to the Lighthouse at the End of the Road

Santa may be the first iconic attraction that you spot in Christmas Michigan, but this Lake Superior town also boasts its own Upper Peninsula lighthouse.

Known locally as the Lighthouse at the End of the Road, this light is officially named the Grand Island West Channel Rear Range Light. You may also hear it referred to as the Bay Furnace Rear Range Light.

Related: Discover Grand Island Michigan | A Hidden Gem Near Munising & Pictured Rocks

The need for navigational aids led to the creation of the Grand Island Harbor Rear Range light, now known as the Christmas Lighthouse, in 1868. Initially, this lighthouse and its counterpart were constructed from wood, with the rear range light standing 37 feet tall and visible for over 12 miles. Due to deterioration, the wooden structures were replaced in 1914 with less maintenance-intensive designs.

Interestingly, the tower of the Christmas Lighthouse, which stands 64 feet tall and visible from 16 miles away, is partially made from materials believed to be from another lighthouse, although its exact origin is debated.

The lighthouse complex was electrified in 1941 and eventually handed over to the Hiawatha National Forest and National Forest Service in 1969. Over time, the front range light was replaced due to deterioration, and the area saw the addition of the Furnace Bay Directional Light.

No matter what you call it, this majestic lighthouse is the perfect photo opportunity. While it was built in 1914, it still stands guard over the rocky waters of Lake Superior today.

Today, the Christmas Lighthouse is a bit hidden from view, located south of M-28 in the woods. It’s open for tours in July and August and illuminated with Christmas lights during the holiday season, making it a beacon for Santa and a festive landmark for visitors interested in the rich history of Great Lakes lighthouses.

One of the best ways to view this operational lighthouse is to go after dark when you can see its bright light cascading over the dark waves of the lake.

Postmarked From Christmas Michigan
photo via @tommiesis

Send a Letter “From Christmas”

No trip to Christmas Michigan would be complete without sending a letter home to get that famous “Christmas” postmark on your envelope. However, with the Christmas post office no longer in operation, you’ll need to go to the Munising post office.

The Munising post office offers the opportunity to have first-class mail stamped with a Christmas postmark. If you want to have your Christmas cards marked accordingly, be sure to get them to Munising in plenty of time for the busy holiday season.

NOTE: This information is accurate as of March 21, 2024, however, we recommend checking before sending your cards to be postmarked. You can reach the Munising post office by phone at 906-387-2081.

The post office is bustling with activity during the holiday season when people from throughout the state and around the country ship their letters and packages through this post office to add an extra touch of festive cheer to their mail.

However, even if you visit during the spring, summer, or fall, you will still enjoy having a letter or package stamped at this post office.

Try Your Luck at the Kewadin Casino

The Kewadin Christmas Casino is a favorite place among adults hoping to hit the jackpot in this tiny Michigan town. While there is no hotel inside this casino, there are several nearby lodging options.

Christmas Motel, Christmas, Michigan
Christmas Motel | photo via @auttiematic

Additional Activities & Attractions Nearby

While celebrating the merriest day of the year never gets old, you may want to make time in your itinerary to explore the beautiful area that surrounds Christmas Michigan. Munising is just a short drive away, and you will find some of the most spectacular natural wonders that Michigan has to offer.

Visit the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore might be the most famous natural attraction in the Upper Peninsula and certainly in the Munising Area.

One of the best ways to view these colorful, regal rock formations is to take a Pictured Rocks Cruise, which will take you along the shores of Lake Superior to a vantage point where you can truly take in the rocks.

Also, there are opportunities to kayak near Pictured Rocks, but it’s best to go with a guided tour. Even an experienced paddler may have a difficult time navigating the rocky, unpredictable waters of Lake Superior.

Take a Waterfall Tour

It seems there are waterfalls around every bend in this region, which is why it’s one of the best places to take a Pictured Rocks waterfall tour. Some beautiful waterfalls nearby include:

  • Miners Falls
  • Munising Falls
  • Wagner Falls
  • Au Train Falls
The Duck Pond Eatery &Amp; Beer Garden - Christmas, Michigan
The Duck Pond Eatery & Beer Garden | photo via @j_nice_rn

Dining Near Christmas Michigan

You’ll likely work up an appetite as large as Santa’s while you are staying in Christmas. These are the best locally-owned restaurants in the community.

Foggy’s Steakhouse

For more than 40 years, Foggy’s Steakhouse has been the best place to gather and enjoy a hearty meal. This American steakhouse is known for its delicious food, including its fresh fish basket, homemade meatloaf, and fresh walleye dinner.

No matter what you are in the mood for, you will find a meal you love and a friendly face ready to welcome you.

The Duck Pond Eatery & Beer Garden

The Duck Pond Eatery & Beer Garden is located on Uncle Ducky’s property, making it a favorite among campers and paddlers who arrive at Christmas for the summer season.

It is only open seasonally, but it’s still considered one of the best restaurants in town. You will always find craft beer on tap, including many brews handcrafted in Michigan. Its menu consists of plenty of seafood, Upper Peninsula treats, and dishes that feature duck.

White Pine Lodge - Christmas, Michigan
White Pine Lodge | photo via White Pine Lodge

Where to Stay in Christmas Michigan

The people of Christmas are committed to making this town a vacation destination, so there is no shortage of places to stay. While the iconic Christmas Motel has closed, there are a few lodging options that are still available in Christmas Michigan.

Yule Log Resort

The aptly named Yule Log Resort is one of the most beloved lodging options in Christmas. Consisting of several camping cabins, this resort offers some of the best views of Lake Superior, as well as one of the most magnificent swimming beaches on the shores.

Each cabin at the resort is unique and offers different amenities. Some are situated right on the lakeshore, while others offer larger floor plans, front porches, gas fireplaces, campfires, and more.

White Pine Lodge

The White Pine Lodge is a cozy hotel located next door to the Kewadin Christmas Casino, making it one of the most convenient places to stay if you want to access all that the area offers.

All guests can enjoy the on-site hot tub and start their day with breakfast included in the price of their room. This hotel is popular among all types of travelers in Christmas.

Christmas, Michigan
Christmas, Michigan | photo via Yoopersteez

Should You Visit Christmas Michigan?

If you are one of those people who would keep your Christmas tree up all year if you could, Christmas seems like it’d be the perfect Michigan holiday town for you to visit any time of the year. A place where there’s always a reason to take a photo with Santa Claus and buy your favorite holiday season treats… maybe someday it’ll be that again.


  1. There isn’t even a post office here. I don’t understand how they have that canceled stamp. Plus the Christmas sign is down long time ago

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *