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Meet the Benders with Santa: (L-R) Josh, Caius, Santa, Mia and Erin. All photos supplied by Erin & Josh Bender
It must be every child’s (and adult’s) dream to visit the REAL Santa! Our favourite family share their top tips to get the most out of your stay at Santa’s home in Rovaniemi, Lapland.
This is the undisputed ultimate family Christmas destination. People flock from all over the world to Rovaniemi in the north of Finland for a once-in-a-lifetime experience that can’t be found anywhere else on the planet.
Rovaniemi in Lapland is perfectly situated on the Arctic Circle and contains the official residence and official office of Santa Claus. All the letters and wishlists from children all around the world end up in Santa’s post office here as well.
If you are thinking of undertaking the long journey to be part of the one Christmas to top all Christmases, then here are the 4 things you should do while in Lapland:
Rovaniemi is home to both Santa’s Holiday Village and Santa Park. At Santa’s Holiday Village you will find the “official” Santa in his office (who happens to speak 20 languages). You can post a letter to anywhere in the world at his post office or to yourself for the following year (that’s thinking ahead). At Snowman’s World you can tube down some pretty intense ice slides or sleep in an ice igloo. In the compound you will also find reindeer rides, snowmobiles for kids and a whole day’s worth of Christmassy fun.
Santa Park also has it’s own Santa to visit, plus an elf school, gingerbread making workshop and an Angry Bird-themed playground – Angry Bird is made in Finland after all. It is also the only place in the world you can cross the Arctic Circle underground! Best of all it’s all indoors and toasty warm, which is especially appreciated when the temperature can drop as low as -15°C outside.
There is nothing Siberian huskies love more than a vigorous run through the forest. If you head out with a tour company such as Lapland Safari, they will rug you up in a special snow suit from head to toe and the drive you out to the husky farm. There you can pat and talk to over 270 huskies before having 8 of them pull you for a ride in a sleigh through the white whimsical winter wonderland.
Have you always dreamed of seeing the Northern Lights? There is no better way than by snowmobile in the Finnish forest. Tours run regularly and you’ll be fitted out with a warm and toasty snow outfit before you jump on the snowmobile in the middle of the white snowy forest. Any kids along for the ride can jump in a sleigh being safely pulled by one of the very capable staff. There are a few stops along the way to see the Lights or just to play in the snow and finally a stop at a traditional Kota (looks like a wooden tepee) for hot sausages and warm berry juice.
Looking for something truly magical to do at Christmas? Why not head to Rovaniemi, Finland. Even if it is just for a photo with the REAL Santa.
Plan to put it on your nice list for next year.