8 years later
My second trip to the Artic Circle
8 years later I was back on the plane to Rovaniemi. But this time entirely voluntarily, because after all I had made the promise to myself that my child should have the opportunity to get to know Santa Claus himself.
But that’s where it started! Santa? Santa Claus?
Well, unfortunately she didn’t know him, because only the Nikolaus (german version) and the Christ Child come to our home. So who was Santa Claus? Well, let’s put it that way – Santa Claus is his international name, because after all he comes to every child all over the world. (You shouldn’t forget about creativity as a parent)
“Mom, are we really going to see the REAL Nikolaus? Who I put my boots in front of the fireplace every year? ”asked Hélia. “Yes, we are flying to him exactly! We visit him and his Christmas elves at the Arctic Circle! ” The children’s eyes grew bigger and bigger and the enthusiasm couldn’t be stopped. My husband was also completely enthusiastic about the idea, because Christmas and everything that goes with it has been his absolute favorite festival since childhood. I can’t say who was happier – my daughter or my husband !?
Packing suitcases – get on the plane – and off to Lapland.
Before I tell you about our family time with Santa, a few facts about the magical Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi:
Rovaniemi is Santa’s official hometown. He is the most famous resident of the city and you can visit him every day of the year. It is an attraction that annually attracts over 500,000 visitors from around the world. The original home of Santa Claus is in the mysterious Korvatunturi (“Ears Mountain”) in Finnish Lapland. Since the exact location is a secret known only to a select few, he decided to open his office in Rovaniemi in 1985.
The Santa Claus Village is only 3 km from the airport and Rovaniemi can also be reached within a very short time. It is Lapland’s most famous attraction and an entrepreneurially independent resort. The place offers around 50 attractions such as husky and reindeer sleigh rides, snowmobile tours, restaurants, ice buildings, igloo hotels and much more. Every year before Christmas the world turns to Rovaniemi when Santa Claus officially opens the Christmas season with his elves. A lot of local people celebrate the annual festival and people from all over the world also watch the spectacle via the free live stream.
From tomorrow you will find out what the great things we as a family were able to experience at Santa Claus and how the first encounter between our daughter and Santa Claus went.
to be continued …
Santa Claus Village
Meeting Santa Claus
Today was the day! Hélia should now get to know Santa Claus personally. But before that happened, we wanted to stroll a bit through Santa Claus Village to see what exciting things could be expected in the next few days. Our daughter and my husband could hardly be stopped. Shortly after getting up, they both stood in the door, ready to explore the area and Santa Claus Village. Just don’t waste any time. (Would that happen so quickly in everyday life)
In contrast to my last professional stay, when I was staying in a hotel in Rovaniemi’s city center, we decided to stay in the Santa Claus Village for the family trip. After all, we were only here for a few days and wanted to enjoy the Christmas spirit to the full.
So, get on the sled and go …
The Santa Claus Village offers guests a variety of accommodation options, depending on their taste and budget. In addition to special kind of hotels such as iglos or houses with a glass roof, in my opinion these three accommodations are best suited for a family vacation:
The holiday homes in the Santa Claus Holiday Village are ideal for families with children. All houses have their own terrace, sauna, toilet, shower and mini kitchen. The cottages are divided into two categories: Classic and Superior. The difference lies in the size and features. However, both cottage types include the daily breakfast buffet, free WiFi and a free airport shuttle when booking.
Suites / Apartments
The new holiday suitesare located in a quiet, wooded area where you can enjoy the peace and privacy. The apartments are a bit on the edge of the Santa Claus Village, but only a short walk (approx. 5 minutes) or sleigh ride from the Arctic Circle, the main buildings and restaurants. The suites are all 39-45 square meters and have a separate living room and bedroom, a kitchenette, a terrace with a view of the forest and a bathroom with a sauna.
Nova Skyland Hotel
If you prefer the comfort and luxury of a 5 star hotel, theNova Skyland Hotelis the right place for you. The hotel is located between the cottages and the suites and is therefore only 200 meters from the main attractions. The hotel is located in a quiet and natural setting, right next to the forest. Since the smallest room category is a 56 square meter suite and the 5 star hotel also offers everything your heart desires, the costs are not insignificant.
Insider tip: If you decide on a cottage when booking your trip, there is the option of inviting Santa Claus for a private visit to your own hut for a fee. Of course, you can also ask Santa Claus to give out personal gifts when he’s visiting. What a unique opportunity to meet Santa Claus!
After we had explored the Santa Claus Village with the sleigh (these are given free of charge at the reception) it was time to make it chic, Santa is waiting. After all, you don’t meet the real Santa Claus every day. And when you’re invited to a private audience, our daughter didn’t want to be deprived of dressing up (as far as this is possible with snowfall and freezing temperatures)
Full of anticipation and excitement, Hélia couldn’t wait to finally meet Santa Claus! And all the questions that I asked myself 8 years ago now came from my Mini Me: “Mom, how is Santa Claus? Is that nice? What should I say? I’m so excited!” When she arrived at Santa’s office, Hélia was absolutely fascinated by the beautiful house. A Christmas elf greeted us at the entrance and I saw our daughter speechless – and my husband too, by the way. I was now able to experience the corridor that I had walked to his living room door many years ago through the eyes of my child again. “Mom, take a look there!” And “Did you see that?” There was something to be explored around every corner and so the way to Santa was full of surprises and discoveries.
And if you think that you can’t make your child happier, the door opens and Santa Claus welcomes you to his kingdom. Hélia was rooted to the spot and couldn’t believe what was happening here. The man to whom she put her boots in front of the fireplace every year (including milk, cookies and wish list) was now sitting right in front of her in his beautiful home.
After the initial shyness was overcome, we all took a seat next to him and he asked what her name was and where she came from. At the latest when he spoke German to her, it was over for her. She chatted with him as if he were an old friend and told him directly what she would like to see in Santa Claus. But Santa replied that unfortunately he couldn’t remember all the children’s wishes and asked if she had her wish list with him? In all the excitement she had left it in the apartment and was now very disappointed that she had not used her chance. But Santa wouldn’t be Santa if he didn’t have a solution for that too.
He suggested she come back over the next few days to bring him the wish list. She did not have to be told this twice. She definitely didn’t want to miss the chance to meet Santa Claus again and to be very close to him.
Full of pride and happiness, she said goodbye to Santa Claus and at that moment she left the most beautiful living room in the world.
to be continued …
Huskies, reindeers and Christmas elves
After we visited Santa Claus for the first time yesterday, it was time to get to know Santa Claus Village better. Hélia was most looking forward to the many animals that could be discovered in the village. That’s why our first stop was:
Santa Claus Reindeer Park
Our daughter was enthusiastic about the many “Svens” (that’s the name of the reindeer in the Disney movie “Frozen”) that she was able to get very close to. After a short mutual sniffing, it was time to get into the reindeer sleigh and off we went. The route first led a bit through the Santa Claus Reindeer Park before heading towards meadows and forests. Hélia felt like Elsa and Anna at the same time. Being in a real reindeer sleigh somewhere on the North Pole was one of the best experiences ever. The cold was quickly forgotten under the cozy fur blankets and we enjoyed the beautiful landscape and the cute reindeer. After half an hour we reached the village again and little children’s eyes were beaming with happiness.
Warmed up briefly at the campfire with tea and children’s punch, we went on to the next attraction:
Santa Claus Husky Farm
Santa’s husky farm is not as big as the farm I was on many years ago, but it is absolutely sufficient for children. Stroking and looking at the many dogs was an unforgettable experience. But even here it was quickly: on the sled, hold on and GO! In contrast to the cozy reindeer, the huskies gave full throttle as usual. It was great fun for the whole family. The dogs whizzed over meadows and forests at great speed and it was nice to see that they were having as much fun as we were.
Since our daughter still hasn’t had enough of animals, our next stop was:
Elf’s Farm is located in traditional rustic surroundings, just a few meters from the Santa Claus Village. The petting zoo attracts many animals such as reindeer, alpacas, sheep, goats, llamas and many small animals. Under arctic weather conditions you can watch the animals in their daily activities and above all you can stroke some of them. Children love the animals and the animals love the children!
Hélia got excited again by the reindeer and she was attracted by their beauty, gentleness and serenity. An elf asked us if we would like to feed the animals and we were already in the enclosure. Although our daughter thought the reindeer were wonderful, she was also afraid to get closer to them. Slowly she took a handful of hay and approached them. The reindeer must look really big to a child with their pronounced antlers, but the elf encouraged them to approach the animals. He told us what the animals are called, that some of them were pregnant and that they are very good-natured conspecifics.
After this wonderful experience we had a look around the farm. In winter,Elf’s Farmyard offers the opportunity to cross the Arctic Circle on traditional Lappish wooden skis. You can find cross-country skis everywhere and the friendly elves show you how it works. A small slope runs through the petting zoo, so that young and old can try out traditional wooden skis on site. And there is even more winter fun – if you feel like it, you can whiz down the small hill in the park on a toboggan! All equipment required is provided.
After all the animal experiences it was time to warm up a little. After we had strengthened ourselves in the apartment, we went back out into the cold, because we had a very special date (this time not with Santa Claus), but with our loved ones back home.
The Arctic Circle runs right through Santa Claus Village. There are stone pillars with a ribbon of lights that mark the latitude of the Arctic Circle in darkness and snow. A webcam is installed on one of these pillars and sends live images from the Santa Claus Village all year round. And so it came about that at a certain point in time we agreed to meet all of our loved ones (note the time difference) on an Arctic Circle date.
We managed to share this special place with family and friends and to send the magical Christmas spirit to many places in Germany and around the world.
Would you like to see what’s going on in Santa Claus Village? Then click here and see if you can spot Santa Claus and his elves through the webcam!
to be continued …
Santa Claus’ Main Post Office
What would a vacation be without sending cards home? And where better to do that than in a post office? Post office? That sounds boring at first, doesn’t it?
Right! But this post office is not an ordinary post office, it is Santa Claus Main Post Office in the Arctic Circle. It is located right on the Arctic Circle in Santa Claus Village across from Santa’s house. Two Christmas elves greeted us at the entrance and invited us to spend some time with you in the post office. We gladly accepted
the invitation and entered. At first we were a bit disappointed, because the many cards and souvenirs almost overwhelmed us and it was anything but pleasant. But on closer inspection we discovered a cozy corner at the back of the post office. The cozy atmosphere invited
to sit down and send greetings from the Arctic Circle to loved ones all over the world. With the numerous motifs on the cards, it was difficult for us to make a decision, so we decided on a lot of cards that all wanted to be written. We enjoyed our time in the post office and there was a lot to discover.
After all the cards were written, we were allowed to decide whether we wanted to throw the cards in the yellow or in the red mailbox. The secret of the red mailbox is that all letters posted here will be sent around Christmas time, even if you have posted your card in the summer, for example. If you want your card to be sent directly, you can choose the other mailbox. Since we were in Santa Claus Village at the end of November, we had the cards sent directly. In addition to the normal postage, all cards received a special stamp from the very special post office at the Arctic Circle.
A tip: If you want to give your friends and relatives a special treat, you can order a special letter from Santa Claus in the post office. This will be sent in good time so that the recipient will receive the post on time for Christmas.
After all the cards had been sent, Helia’s highlight of the day was on the program. Meeting Santa Claus for the second time and finally give him her wish list. For a long time she had tinkered with her wish list and embellished it with stickers, because after all she wasn’t supposed to just put it in front of the fireplace on Nikolaus Eve, as usual, but this time she was allowed to hand it over personally to Santa Claus.
Numerous wish lists from children from all over the world embellished the entrance door to Santa Claus’ room. Our daughter was almost bursting with pride that her wish list would soon be there too. She couldn’t wait to meet Santa again and the door opened. In contrast to the first time, she steered confidently towards him and handed over her wish list. After she had explained all the details of the wish list again, it was time to say goodbye. Because tomorrow we went home again and it was clear that we won’t have time to visit Santa again.
to be continued …
Time to say goodbye
Before I draw my personal conclusion, I would like to introduce you to three more highlights of the Santa Claus Village that you should not miss:
Mrs. Santa Claus Christmas Cottage
Did you know that Santa is married? Yes, exactly, with Mrs. Santa Claus. During your visit to Santa Claus Village, you can visit Mrs. Santa Claus in her cottage. Get to know her and her Christmas elves, take souvenir photos, bake and sing with them and spend an unforgettable time.
You can get all further information here!
A visit to Snowman World is a must when spending your vacation in Santa Claus Village. The world of ice and snow is right in the heart of Santa Claus Village located. The whole family will enjoy oneself with the extensive range of outdoor snow activities. The Ice Bar and the Ice Restaurant are an absolute highlight and the artistic ice sculptures amaze all guests.
You can get all further information here!
Under the Arctic Circle, deep in the earth, lies the secret cave of Santa Claus, where it is Christmas all year round! Santa Park is an indoor amusement park that has been voted the world’s most popular Christmas destination alongside Santa Claus Village. A fascinating underground world enchants all visitors and offers a lively entertainment program. The Christmas elves present their show several times a day on the main stage and Santa is always close by.
You can get all further information here!
In conclusion, I would like to say that we really enjoyed our time as a family in the Arctic Circle. The Santa Claus Village is an absolute highlight, especially for younger children who still believe in Santa Claus. Our daughter was four years old when we were there and it was the perfect age. Nevertheless, I am of the opinion that older children will also have a lot of fun in the Santa Claus Village, because the range is so extensive and appeals to all age groups.
We only took advantage of the “small package” with our daughter, because, for example, on dog sledding tours or reindeer rides, it is always pointed out that you shouldn’t be on the road for too long, as it would otherwise be too cold for the toddlers. But if you have older children or maybe even teenagers who can e.g. drive a snowmobile themselves, my recommendation is to book the longer tours.
The Santa Claus Village is magical, but as already mentioned in my first journal article“My trip to the Arctic Circle – Part 1”, the landscape around Rovaniemi is breathtaking and while you are there, you should get out of the city and into the beauty immerse yourself in nature!
The family accommodations in Santa Claus Village (cottages and apartments) are designed in scandinavian style and practical. If you want more luxury, you should fall back on one of the hotels in the complex or in the vicinity. In my opinion, however, the accommodations are absolutely sufficient and comfortable, as you spend most of the day outside anyway.
The Santa Claus Village offers everything that makes an unforgettable family vacation in the Arctic Circle. Our daughter still talks about the time with Santa Claus and if meanwhile doubts arise about the authenticity of Santa Claus (due to the age) then she always remembers the time in Rovaniemi, when she had a nice chat with Santa Claus.
I can only recommend all parents to fly with their children to see THE REAL Santa Claus. This experience is “once in a lifetime” and the children love the fairy-tale atmosphere and smile all over their faces. And if we’re honest, we parents love the magic of Christmas too, don’t we?
Merry Christmas ♥