We started our Christmas season a little early last year and headed up to Finland over the Thanksgiving break. Rovaniemi is the “official” hometown of Santa Claus (though I know some people in Alaska who may disagree with this comment). If you love Christmas, this is the place for you!
We stayed in a cabin at Santa Claus Village so we could be as close to the Man in Red as possible.
There were also lots of fun attractions nearby so we didn’t have to travel far.
Right off the bat we had to cross off one bucket list item. We stood on the Arctic Circle.
Random fact, the Arctic Circle actually moves every year. So there is a nice little permanent marker in the picture, but we walked all over the village to make sure we actually crossed the line.
Plus you get a fancy certificate to prove that you were, in fact, crazy enough to bring your family up to the Arctic Circle.
Reindeer Sleigh Rides
The one thing I wanted to do more than anything else on this trip was to go on a reindeer sleigh ride. There is something about the idea of sitting on a sleigh and gliding through the snow being pulled by a reindeer. If that doesn’t scream “Christmas” I don’t know what does.
Mother nature decided not to provide us snow for this trip, so we were not able to take a longer ride through the woods. However, they did set up a small track with snow to allow for shorter rides. It didn’t matter. I was so beyond happy to just even sit there. Gavin made a wonderful Go Pro video of this adventure, yet I have no idea how to share it. So instead here is us before we took off on our ride.
It makes me smile just thinking about it now. Love it!
The Big Event
If you are going to Santa Claus’ hometown, you better pay him a visit. You also must get a family photo with the Man in Red after traveling all this way. However, having 2 small children look toward a camera while meeting the official Santa Claus, is no small feat. In order to get that one in a million photo, we actually went and visited Santa multiple times. The final result is this.
We look like an absolute hot mess, but everybody is looking forward. I am going to take that as a win.
Santa’s Salmon Place
After all of this running around in the cold, we needed to refuel. Now most eating establishments around the Village are more tourist oriented, fast food type places. An exception to this rule is Santa’s Salmon Place.
Inside this small little Teepee, fresh salmon is cooked to order.
You have to get there early to get a seat, as the place is tiny. There is also a bit of a wait due to the whole “being cooked in front of you on an open flame in a Teepee” thing. It is absolutely worth all the hassle.
(I’ll take one please)
There is also a Husky park at the Village. Again, because there was not much snow, there really wasn’t much to see here at the time we went. They do provide husky sleigh rides, which sounds like great fun.
There is a small petting zoo tucked in the back of the village. The family that runs this “zoo” (more like small farm) were unbelievably nice. We were one of the only families there when we visited and they pretty much gave us a private tour of everything. We got to feed the sheep, try out cross-country skiing and hug trees (Halipuu). Hugging trees is supposed to be healing and bring you closer to nature. I totally hugged a tree. Randomly, the only picture I have of this place is this one.
There were lots of different excursions that you could book from the hotel and other companies. Some of the most popular ones were Northern Lights expeditions and snowmobiling. We did NOT get to see the northern lights. Bummer! Gavin went on an Ice Floating adventure. More on that experience in a future post.
We had a great time at Santa Claus Village and in Finland. Next post will be about Santa Park. See you then.