I adore snow. Actually, if I should choose mild fluffy winter or summer heat and the beach, I would be too messed up to answer. And, the most beautiful snow so far I saw only in Rovaniemi. Not once by now I’ve mentioned this cold place in Finnish Lapland, but some extra details are never too much, especially on this beautiful time of Christmas.
Last year I already wrote about my meeting with Mr. Santa, but this year I have some fresh aspects to add from another short trip back to Rovaniemi, which I’ve done a month ago. On my second day of this quick runaway I headed straight to the Santa Claus Village. This is the place, where Santa Claus lives, his elves pack the presents, deer graze in the snow and Mrs. Claus bakes the most delicious gingerbreads. Everything I found there exactly the same as nearly seven years ago: the same lovely little buildings, lightened up with Christmas lights, the same Christmas songs being played everywhere around the whole year, the same busy Santa’s Post Office, from where Joulupukki is sending letters to various destinations around the globe, and the same polar night, giving only a few hours of daylight. Just, Mr. Santa was different this time. Yes, the official fairylike figure is always the same, but in the regular daily life of Santa Claus Office – a few different people embody him. On this beautiful Christmas day I don’t want to speak about disappointment, so I will just say that sometimes Santa Claus is having bad days too… But that really didn’t take my mood away. I was way much more interested in soft and delicate snow outside, silently falling down in this fairytale, which totally conquered my heart…
What to expect in Santa Claus Village?
- First of all, you’ll definitely meet Mr. Santa. At the beginning you’ll pass by the long magical corridor till you reach a small room, where the Christmas icon is waiting for all his visitors. He’ll not only make with you a conversation in your common language, but very likely will say a few words in your mother tongue too.
- Unfortunately you cannot use your own camera and make with Santa let’s say a selfie. So, the only way to get a proof that you’ve met Mr. Claus is by buying quite pricey photos or videos from elves, who are capturing your moments while you are having a chat with him.
- One of the musts, if you’re still a fan of the paper mail, is to send a postcard from the Santa Claus Post Office. And, I’m not speaking about the letters from Mr. Santa, which you may order in advance, ‘cause you can make a regular postage too. I’m underlining this because they are putting their local postmark with geographic coordinates of eternal Santa’s place at the North Pole, which differs from the regular one of Rovaniemi.
- Various Christmas and Santa Claus souvenirs are overpriced everywhere in Lapland, however buying them in Rovaniemi centre instead of Santa Claus Village can result in some saved coins.
- How much time do you need in Santa Claus Village? Actually, it depends. If there’s no line, to visit Santa even 10 minutes may be enough. But once you’re there at the North Pole, you’ll definitely need extra time for making photos close to various signs, underlining this special geographic position, sending postcards from Santa’s Post Office, having a walk around the area, probably checking out souvenir shops, maybe orderings some Nordic tours, and having a meal or glögi, an amazing drink, similar to mulled wine. So, one can plan to spend there a few hours or more.
- Santa Claus Village is located about 10 kilometers away from Rovaniemi center. You can get there by car, local buses, taxis or by bicycle. Even in winter everybody loves using bikes there, so if that is not too cold outside, you can easily make such trip to meet Santa.
Some, or even many, can call the whole Lapland with all the Santa thing, Arctic Circle and Rovaniemi cliché. But that is valid only if one is looking to all that in a very primitive and superficial way. I perfectly understand this business, which puts loads of money into some red pockets, but I’m not willing to go deep into that. I prefer to forget all the material things and for five minutes dive into the fairytale…
Merry Christmas, travellers!