The Best Santa Holidays to Lapland
Posted By Jo MacGregor on 01 November 2014
The secrets of enjoying a family encounter with Father Christmas
You will never forget the look on your children's faces when they chat to the 'real' Father Christmas in Lapland about their wishes and dreams this Christmas...
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The excitement of swishing through the snow on a reindeer or husky dog ride, the magical setting and the search for Santa's secret hideaway will NEVER be forgotten.
Which is the best Santa Holiday to Lapland? Obviously you want to get in right as you'll probably only go once, and with a bewildering selection of daytrips and short breaks on sale the question is which to plump for.
The most popular, and cheapest, way to do Lapland is there and back in a day. Ignoring the cheaper mass packages, the minimum you want is at least a private family viewing with the Big Santa Man and tastefully done too, so you are looking at for 2015 around £400 - £500 per person although there are some Free child prices and offers available at certain times.
My honest opinion is that as flights from the UK to Lapland take around three-and-a-half hours, making seven hours’ flying, added to which there will be time checking-in in the UK then unless that is all the time you can give (or want to give) I would stay for a couple of nights: it is better value, more relaxed with more sociable flight times and there is time to enjoy the snow and snow related activities. Over the years we have barely had a negative comment about the longer trips whereas the daytrips have sometimes proved a disappointment especially if there is even a short delay to the outbound flight.
For 2015 it seems there are no 2 day/ 1 night trips which is a shame as this was a good compromise so your decision is either a day trip or 2, 3 or 4 nights.
So then the short breaks start to become a longer breaks and you should weigh up the ages of your children and your and their interests in the snow and ice activities available.
For me probably the best duration to combine some snowy fun with the magical experience of meeting the 'real' Santa Claus and his teams of elves and real reindeers would be a 3 days and 2 night trip or 4 days and 3 nights. Several families have reported that the whole family enjoyed the overall experience rather than so much focus solely on the Father Christmas meeting. From snowmobile and husky-dog rides, the tobogganing in the deep, pristine snow, and just being somewhere so otherworldly, where in the middle of the day you get a blue-tinged twilight, and where it’s very, very cold. The longer you stay the emphasis tips towards enjoying the activities rather than just the thrill of Santa and given that you have got there it seems a shame not to make the most of it - you are unlikely to return after all.
Cold. It will be very. The temperature in December in Lapland can drop as low as minus 25C, although minus 10C is more typical so it is important that you choose to go when your children are not too small but ideally still 'believers'. Really little ones won’t necessarily enjoy the activities, such as husky rides and will not be allowed to ride on the skidoos – and of course they won’t remember a thing in years to come. Four to eight years is probably the optimal age but depending on how much importance you gave a potential Lapland trip when planning your family there will have to be some allowances in many cases!
Where to go is crucially important as you don't want to feel in a production line but also want to make sure, if you are staying more than 1 or 2 nights that there is enough to do. Watch out for the transfer time as after the flight a long transfer is the last thing any of you will feel like and it is probably worth a compromise.
Food - don't expect much! You will read reviews on this but it seems a the moment there is not one perfect option to ensure good food. Cultural differences, availability of fresh food and the fact that you are a trapped audience means despite years of negotiations by the specialist Tour Operators there had been little progress. I will of course let you know if reviews start changing on this.
The specialist companies have perfected these trips and are worth paying the bit extra to be sure you have a private audience with the big man in red. A present and the child's christmas list are cleverly arranged and generally a good sample if not all activities are included - it is worth checking as if they are not they can be expensive in resort. Thermal artic suits, boots and essentials are provided and putting them on for the first time will have you all in stitches. You will need to provide your own underlayers though and each company will provide a list of what is and what is not included.
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