American Christmas in Mount Vernon Opens Santa's Village to Visitors

There's no doubt New York City is one of our favorite Christmas towns and if you've ever wondered where it gets its holiday lights and spectacular decorations, we've got the scoop: American Christmas in Mount Vernon supplies much of NYC's magical Christmas decor and holiday lights. This local business is a veritable Christmas wonderland, with large-scale holiday decorations hanging from the rafters of its 100,000-square-foot workshop. There's so much Christmas cheer here, it's built its own Santa's Village, and we've got some sweet news: American Christmas is opening up its workshop and showroom to visitors, creating a Christmas village walk-through that's a picture-perfect holiday outing.

Read on for a sneak peek into American Christmas, and bookmark our Guide to Christmas and Holiday Activities for all our top picks for holiday happenings, brilliant light displays, and must-do fun.

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While you may not know American Christmas, you're undoubtedly familiar with its work. Its brilliantly lit decorations adorn iconic New York landmarks like Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, Macy's, and Cartier's Fifth Avenue flagship annually. I was quick to spot a giant, glittery decoration that I pegged as belonging to the Saks Fifth Avenue Light Show—and got the inside scoop that it and the rest of the castle facade are being replaced for the upcoming holiday season!

Once you've had your peek at the American Christmas employees busy in their warehouse-sized workshop and have played your own game of holiday decor I-spy, head upstairs to its Santa's Village. If your family anticipates a visit to Macy's Santaland, you'll love this sparkly wonderland, where yes, you'll be able to meet Santa himself on select dates.

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American Christmas in Mount Vernon: Santa's cookie workshop
See Santa in a variety of scenes as you journey through the walk-through Santa's Village at American Christmas. 

Even if the big guy isn't in residence, there's plenty of eye candy here. A dazzling display of light-up decorations covers nearly every surface. Animatronic figurines are a mesmerizing distraction from the bright lights. Explore five separate houses, each designed and built by American Christmas employees in a friendly, team-building competition that was meant to bring the employees back together after a pandemic hiatus. They range from the classic to the contemporary, with Santa doing everything from singing in the shower to tipping back a (surely spiked) eggnog and whipping up some Christmas sweets! It took more than half a million dollars worth of holiday decor to bring these scenes to life.

The whole scene is perfect for wandering and there are plenty of moments that catch the eye and would make a lovely backdrop for a holiday card. We loved the never-ending present conveyor belt and the singing chorus of woodland animals.

RELATED: Holiday Craft Fairs and Markets in Westchester and the Hudson Valley

American Christmas in Mount Vernon: American Christmas Shop
The ground-floor shop at American Christmas in Mount Vernon is jam-packed with ornaments and more Christmas decor. 

If you'd like to take home your own little piece of American Christmas, visit the ground-floor shop, which overflows with ornaments, snow globes, lights, trains, and more holiday finery. A pop-up vintage shop is also on-site, where you can purchase vintage decorations—some of which were displayed on TV shows or in iconic department store displays—at rock-bottom prices. There are also cool re-creations and blow-mold figures in case you'd like to join the ranks of the most spectacularly decorated holiday houses nearby.

So, why have you never heard of this slice of Christmas heaven before? This is the first year American Christmas is opening up the experience to the general public. CEO Dan Casterella views Santa's Village as a gift to the community and perhaps the sweetest gift of all is the way American Christmas is giving back.

RELATED: Picture-Perfect Holiday Day Trips Near NYC

American Christmas in Mount Vernon: Posing in Santa's chair
Even when Santa isn't in residence at American Christmas, his chair makes for a fun photo-op.

While visitors will shell out $10 to visit on weekdays and $15 on weekends, American Christmas won't keep a penny of the profits. All the ticket sales will be donated directly to a trio of local charities: the Mount Vernon Boys and Girls Club, North East STEM Academy, and the Youth Community Outreach Program.

American Christmas is located in Mount Vernon, New York. Santa's Village runs from Friday, November 4-Friday, December 23. Book your timed-entry tickets online before visiting. There is FREE parking on-site. Santa's Village is located on the third floor of the building, but there is an elevator if you're coming with a stroller. The shopping areas are packed tight with Christmas cheer, so you'll have a hard time navigating with a stroller there! New York City residents who want to experience the American Christmas' Santa Village can take the 5-train to Eastchester-Dyer Avenue, though it's a 20-minute walk to the showroom. There were plenty of cabs waiting at the stop, and it was a brief 5-minute ride when we visited.

All photos by author

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