Santa Clause Village, Rovaniemi, Finland
Santa Clause really does exist
I woke up one day with the realisation that Santa Clause actually does exist! No, really – he does!
I impulsively rang up my sister and excitedly told her that I am postponing Christmas and heading to the North Pole early in 2016.
"I am spending the season with THE official Santa Clause, his elves and his reindeers.I am trading in a sunny South African Christmas for a white filled landscape with lit up Christmas trees dusted in white snowflakes. I am flying to the Arctic Circle - Lapland to be precise and spending time at the Santa Clause Village in Rovaniemi, Finland. I am going to feel this Christmas spirit again". She laughed.
No exaggeration. This is exactly how it happened. 2 weeks before my departure date I booked my ticket on Cheap Flights before anyone can convince me otherwise. Once I set my mind to something it’s very seldom anyone can change it.
Tisk The Season To Be Jolly! Lalalalalalaalalla
My late dad had this fun obsession with Christmas. He would go out of his way each year to make Christmas magical for his 3 children, with so much happiness, joy and excitement. It was a time of year for him where people displayed kindness, and were more generous. A time where people believed in magic and were encouraged to dream. A time of celebration with those loved ones around you. A time to bring out that inner child within yourself. For as long as I can remember - It was his favourite day of the year. He never lost that joy.
His birthday was coming up in Jan, and the anniversary of his death early Feb, so I decided to do something to celebrate his life over that period and feel that joy again. He would be proud!
It’s been 4 years since I felt such happiness towards my favourite season. And each year I try my hardest to celebrate and feel what I have felt before, but tragedy strikes just when I am in the process of building up that excitement and I end up feeling overwhelmed with heartache and negative emotions.
It happened again this year.
By the way . . . my birthday is on Christmas to.
So instead of complaining about the Christmas I had, I thought I would revisit one of my favourite “postponed” Christmas memories in Rovaniemi early on this year that I hadn't blogged about yet.
A snow globe and postcard experience
I flew straight into Rovaniemi from Iceland and was greeted by a beautiful Finnish winter wonderland. Shortly after receiving my rental car, I headed straight to Santa Clause’s Village a few minutes away. I was so excited to find my inner child and get lost in the wonder of the holidays. And of course - to meet the ONE AND ONLY Santa Clause and his reindeers.
I was minutes away from having my very own snow globe and postcard experience.
The village was free to enter, but before I could give myself time to look around – I found myself at Santa’s workshop. This was happening!
I had butterflies in my stomach. There was no doubt in my mind that I had been good all year so I knew Santa would welcome me with open arms. His workshop looked like the most elaborate toy making factory! Elves hard at work greeted me whilst I hurried along the path to see Santa, singing under my breath “Oh! You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I am telling you why; Santa Clause is coming to town…. " Oh! The excitement!
I felt nothing but pure, sincere happiness. Santa greeted me by name and knew that I was from South Africa. I couldn’t help but give him a hug with a big cheesy grin plastered all over my face.
He is every thing I had always imagined. He was kind, generous and I felt such warmth from him that it was hard not to feel loved. I sat with him for 20 minutes, and spoke in depth with him about my photography goals, the reason I had came to visit - to honour my dad, and spoke about my wish for 2016. To end it happy, in love, with a companion by my side. To have someone I could create new Christmas memories with. I promised him that I would be good all year in the hope that he grants me this wish.
I left him with peace in my heart and hope for my future.
Standing on the Arctic Circle Line
Another dream came true - I stepped on the Arctic circle line. I always wanted to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity - to stand on the most northerly part of the five major circles of latitude that marks the maps of the Earth.
A winter wonderland filled with unique holiday activities
The rest of the village was beautiful and filled with so many amazing things to do. You can enjoy traditional Lapland cuisine, pick up the best Christmas souvenirs, take a reindeer sledge ride, visit the snow hotel, enjoy in a snowmobile safari, have a drink in the ice bar, and even send a postcard home straight from the North Pole. And I haven’t even scratched the surface of all the activities you can do.
Whilst commercialised over the years, the village still has that authentic Christmas charm that will leave you in awe and wonder. I will definitely be back one day with my own children. Imagine a child’s excitement if an adult can enjoy it this much.
Getting to Santa Clause Village
If you would like to postpone Christmas like I did – I highly recommend booking a trip to Rovaniemi, Finland. Santa’s Village is located 8km outside of the city center in a town called Napappiri. If you don’t want to rent a car you can hop on bus no . 8 from the city center for a few euros or grab a taxi for around €20-25.