This December, just before Christmas, we had a fantastic opportunity to experience real white winter. We spent four fabulous days at the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Finland, that lies right at the Arctic Circle, which makes the town a gateway to the Arctic. The Arctic Circle is a circle of latitude that runs 66°33′45.9″ north of the Equator. It marks the southernmost latitude where the sun can stay continuously below or above the horizon for 24 hours. These phenomena are known as the Midnight Sun in the summer when the day lasts more than 24 hours and the Polar Night (“Kaamos”) in the winter when the night lasts more than 24 hours. The crossing of the Arctic Circle goes through the famous Santa Claus Village; there, it is marked with a blue line. Santa Claus Village is an official hometown of Santa Claus, who has his office and post there.
As our kids are seven and nine years old, we thought it was the last year they would enjoy meeting Santa with magical excitement in their eyes. It was so lovely to see our kids truly enjoy talking with Santa about good and bad choices, getting presents from him, and checking how Santa’s post office works and how many letters he gets from all over the world.
We got way more than only meeting Santa. Besides all Santa-related festive activities in the Santa Claus Village, there are tons of active ways to experience the beauty of the winter and the wilderness of this fantastic place. Reindeer, husky rides, winter fishing on a frozen lake, riding snowmobile, ice bar and restaurant with ice sculptures—all these activities were memorable ways to see and feel what real winter looks like.
Nature in this Arctic Circle area was breathtaking. Thick piles of snow all around you, frost on every single branch of the trees and icicles hanging from the roofs of the forest houses made this place a real wild winter wonderland.
It was freezing cold, and the sun was rising at around 10 am and setting at around 1 pm; that made the days so short, but who cares about this when you can play with snow and have fun with your sled outside all day long?
Kids were begging to come there next year again. It was truly the best Christmas present ever.