People all over the world celebrate the holidays in different ways, but there are some standards of the holiday that are nearly universal. Here are the cities and towns that can make a claim as the birthplace, chief production area, or “capital” of different aspects of Christmas.
If you’re sucking on a red-and-white, peppermint-flavored, crook-shaped candy cane — the candy most associated with Christmas — chances are it was produced by the Spangler Candy Company. Counting all the different shapes, colors, and sizes of candy canes, Spangler churns out an average of 2.7 million candy canes a day. That makes its hometown of Bryan, Ohio, (population: 8,500) the candy cane capital of the world.
Clackamas County, a half-rural, half-suburban area just outside of Portland, Oregon, is the Christmas tree capital of the world. Oregon harvests more than seven million Christmas trees each year, and the largest percentage comes from Clackamas, where they’re grown, cut, tied, and shipped to countless parking-lot tree-shops around the world.
It’s something of a holiday punchline or cliché now, but in the mid-20th century, people really loved to eat —and gift —fruitcake, the typically alcohol-soaked, powerfully sweet, shelf-stable log filled with candied fruit, nuts, and more calories than an adult needs in a day. Fruitcake is still such a part of holiday celebrations that two bakeries in Claxton, Georgia, produce a total of four million individual of the treats each year (and largely by hand, too). Claxton certainly has a claim on the title of fruitcake capital of the world.
A huge percentage of the United States’ consumer goods come from China, where both labor and raw materials are much more inexpensive than in North America. That includes Christmas stuff. Nearly two-thirds of Christmas ephemera —things like artificial trees, Christmas themed toys used as stocking stuffers, and all variety of holiday décor — originated in Yiwu, a city about 200 miles south of Shanghai. It’s the Christmas decorations capital of the world.