After a lovely Christmas Eve with my family, we fast remembered what life with kids is like. When our little daughter got a stomach flu on Christmas Day, we had to cancel the rest of our Christmas plans, including Christmas dinner. We felt terrible for my mom who had gotten up early to prepare the food, but what can you do. Most people understandably cancelled and only a couple were brave enough to come to spend the evening with us. We still got to enjoy a lovely Christmas meal, thanks to my mom, even though every once in a while I had to run to hold my daughters hair or a bucket.
When she recovered we headed to Lapland, the northern part of Finland, together with my brother's family. Our plan was to spend almost a week there and then return to my parents after New Years. Our first stop was in Rovaniemi at the Arctic Circle. This is the place where the real Santa Claus lives (according to Finns) and we knew that the kids would love it. We visited this place a couple of years ago in October and it was very nice. Now it was just full of people from all over the world. It was so crowded that we decided not to do the 45 minute wait to see Santa (which is free by the way), since we still had quite a long drive ahead of us to Ylläs. Disappointing but on the other hand, we just saw Santa on Christmas Eve.
We also stopped and ate before Santa's Village and I'm glad we did. All the restaurants in the village were full. We walked around in souvenir shops and visited Santa's post office. We also took pictures with a giant snowman outside. It was so big that at first I thought it must not be real snow, but it was. Wow! Because of the snow on the ground we couldn't see the line for the Arctic Circle but there are also some signs we took pictures with.
Santa's Village in Rovaniemi is a really nice place to visit especially during Christmas time. Last time we visited, there were no lines anywhere, but the same Christmas feeling was there as now. At that time we were able to meet Santa without waiting and got some pictures taken with him. We stayed the night in Santa's Village in a little cottage with a sauna in it. Also at that time we traveled with my brother's family and one cottage accommodated two families on separate sides. I can really recommend staying the night at Santa's Village.
This time we didn't stay at the village for a very long time, because we still had to drive further to Lapland and it was already getting dark (at 3 pm!). Still it was nice to have a little stop in Rovaniemi and stretch our legs. Maybe next time we get to meet Santa again.
TIPS FOR YOUR VISIT TO SANTA'S VILLAGE IN FINLAND
- If it is not a must to do your visit at Christmas time, I would recommend this place some other time of the year. That way you will avoid the crowds and prices will be cheaper
- The cottages in the village are almost like hotel rooms, plus you get your own sauna, and you can park your car in front of your room. And you get to be the first one to say hello to Santa
- Prices in the village are high and the restaurants are not the best. If you are staying the night somewhere else in Rovaniemi, you might dine better with less money downtown
- Don't forget to bring the addresses of all your friends, because Santa has his own post office with a special stamp
- Santa speaks English and also other languages have been taken into consideration in the village. A perfect place to visit!