Dear child, we have decided to tell you the truth: Santa Claus is real. The phrase seems to be pronounced differently...
Yes, it is pronounced differently, but only until parents find out for themselves that a grey-bearded wizard in a red hat lives in colder climes, that he listens carefully to all children's wishes and that a family of acquaintances has already been to see him.
Do you also think it's high time to separate the truth from the idle fiction and check where Father Christmas lives and what he can do?
So, in this overview we answer the most popular questions children have about Santa Claus:
1. Where does Father Christmas live?
The beloved wizard of all children could live at the North Pole. But wouldn't he be bored without visitors? That's why Santa is based in Finland, a cold but very hospitable country. Find Rovaniemi on a map of Finland. Yes, it's not a short drive, and Santa Claus' village is even further away, where the Arctic Circle dotted line runs.
Two km from the wizard's residence is the official airport of Santa Claus, and an express bus runs from Rovaniemi to the fairytale village. And just imagine, there's even a major European motorway, E-75, that leads to the area.
There's a little secret: Santa's real home (or Joelupukki, as Finnish children call him) is located on Mount Korvatunturi, but its location cannot be revealed, otherwise all the magic would be lost. You can visit him. Take advantage of a unique program from Scandinavian Travel Group.
2. What does Santa Claus do in the summer?
It turns out he does the same thing he does in winter: prepare presents and receive guests. What's more, he has the longest working hours in the summer. From morning to evening, the magician holds the reception, listening to the wishes of children (and sometimes adults) from all over the world.
If you visit Santa Claus' village in Summer, professional photographers will capture the moment your child whispers to the wizard. And then you'll look at the photos for a long time and find details that you didn't notice right away... For example, you'll discover that even in summer Joelupukki's shoes are powdered with snow, and the fire in the fireplace is crackling.
By the way, you can find little signs of winter in Santa Claus's village, even if it's summer on the calendar.
3. What's out there, beyond the Arctic Circle?
Are the icy winds whistling there? Are there frosts blowing? Now you can answer these questions with knowledge for your children! All you have to do is cross the line marked 'Arctic Circle'. The line runs through Father Christmas village and every brave person who crosses it will get a special certificate.
4. What is the weather like in Lapland above the Arctic Circle in summer and winter?
There are no frosts in summer, when the temperature stays between +15 and +18°C. In July and August it may even be hot and humid. July and August can be hot, with temperatures in excess of 30°C and even 35°C.
In late September, however, the weather can get cold, with temperatures dropping well below freezing. Frost peaks in the winter months, with temperatures dropping to -15°C. The warmth won't arrive until May.
November to December sees temperatures dropping to -7 and -12°C.
From December to February, you can catch -20 and -30°C.
5. How to write a magical letter to Father Christmas?
Which child hasn't written a letter to Santa (Joelupukki, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, Peru Noel?
The magician has many names :) All this correspondence arrives at the main post office of Santa Claus. The work there is excellent, and no child's request goes unheeded. It often happens that children don't ask the magician for anything, but they wish him a Merry Christmas and a long and happy life. Such letters especially touch Father Christmas.
You can also buy colorful greeting cards at the post office and send them out to family and friends. Each card has a stamp with an image of Father Christmas on it and his company stamp. Do you want your recipient to receive a Christmas card just in time for Christmas? Put the card in the red letterbox at the post office.
6. Santa's helpers
The winter wizard has so much to do that he couldn't do it alone. That's why he has the help of elves. They are industrious, ubiquitous and cheerful, and they do the cleaning, make the souvenirs and cheer up the guests. They work the whole year round, just like Santa, and get ready for Christmas: they choose presents, wrap them and prepare the grandfather's sleigh for the journey.
And when a grown-up child realises that Santa's helpers are not only elves, but also all the parents in the world, he will not feel disappointment, and warmth: One day he himself will join the ranks of winter wizard helpers!
7. What does Father Christmas eat for breakfast?
Does Santa like to eat good food? And his wife, Mrs Claus (known as Maori in Finland), is lucky to be a good cook. Her treats are plentiful for her husband, all the elves and visitors to the village. In summer, she bakes berry pies, in autumn she makes mushroom soup and on winter holidays she cooks traditional rice porridge with almonds.
Maori uses an elf's cap as a measure of volume, measures time in Santa's Quiet Hours and her main spice is... love. You can sample Mrs Claus' delicious treats in any restaurant in the village.
8. How many reindeer does Santa have?
Everyone knows Father Christmas' nine flying reindeer by name. But the old man also has other reindeer that he saddles up in his sleigh when he goes for a walk in the woods.
These seemingly ordinary animals can be seen at Santa's farm in his village. During a tour, you can learn about reindeer husbandry traditions and be allowed to meet and feed the animals. Of course, each reindeer has a nickname. I wonder if you'll be lucky enough to meet Rudolf, Dasher and Cupid.
But not everyone knows about the fabulous reindeer that live on an ancient reindeer farm! This ancient farm is over 150 years old! The farm lies on the banks of the longest river in Lapland and is surrounded by a taiga forest. It's these reindeer that can take you for a ride in Santa's magical forests!
Are you looking for an unforgettable experience and culture of Lappish reindeer herders, Santa's helpers? We have a fun program for the whole family from Scandinavian Travel Group:
9. Christmas exhibition in Santa Claus Village, Rovaniemi
It's summer, and you can't get in the mood for winter? Then you need to visit the Christmas House. There you will remember how good your spirits get in anticipation of the holiday. In the Christmas House you can see an exhibition about Christmas traditions from Finland and abroad.
It is also the largest gift shop in Santa's village. You can buy Christmas decorations, toys, dishes, clothes... just about anything you might need. The shelves are lined with items from the local elf factory.
10. Making a snowman in Lapland
In late November, when Rovaniemi's Father Christmas village is covered in snow, the Santa Park begins. Join in the fun: ride the winter-spring-summer-autumn train, take a walk through the Ice Gallery, sample freshly baked goods at the Christmas Bakery, work with elves in the workshop and learn what Santa's helpers need to know at the Elf School.
The snowmen (who also serve Father Christmas), annually build a playground in Santa's village where you can go sledding, play snowballs or build forts.
And here's the amazing thing: Santa Park is also open in summer. Why not learn at the elf school during the school holidays? And you can see the ice sculptures: Grandpa enchanted them so that the ice doesn't melt. But visitors won't feel the cold and can walk around the gallery in summer clothes.
11. Is it possible to build a snow igloo in Santa's village?
There is no such possibility in the village itself. But we know places where you can build a snow igloo!
What's more, you can learn how to build a real snow igloo as a team if you take advantage of Scandinavian Travel Group's «BUILD YOUR OWN SNOW IGLOO» program. What could be more exciting? And your teacher will be a professional Arctic wildlife guide!
The construction site of the snow igloos is located in a quiet and beautiful natural area. Each snow igloo built contributes to the snow igloo park, which is visited by many tourists in Levi (in the town near Rovaniemi, Lapland).
The names of the builders and their home country can be found on a plaque next to the igloos. Your guide will prepare warm drinks and snacks for you inside the snow igloo you built!
12. On the road in Santa's private transport!
Father Christmas may well have received letters from children asking if they could take a ride on a magical reindeer. Well, Santa decided that all visitors to his village should have this opportunity.
Now you too can take a journey across snowy roads on a sleigh pulled by reindeer. We recommend you the best reindeer safari programs in Lapland from Scandinavian Travel Group:
You can also take advantage of husky safari programs. In this case the sled will be pulled by a dog sled. We also recommend the best husky safari programs in Lapland by Scandinavian Travel Group:
Did you know that Father Christmas is very handy with modern technology, and has a fleet of snowmobiles! There are small snowmobiles for the kids. We also recommend the best snowmobile programs:
You haven't had a chance to tell your children about Santa's village yet, but already you hear someone's voice saying "I want to go there"? Of course, it's your own voice! Grown-ups love holidays and miracles too.
Don't be afraid of being too late for the fun: family tours to Father Christmas in Lapland are exciting at any time of year, well, our children's routes in Lapland will show you what to show your child in this magical corner of our planet!
This article contains photos used with permission from ©Visit Rovaniemi and @ScandinavianTravelGroup.