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I was off on a trip to see Santas Lapland, curious to know whether the children’s excitement would merit the expense!
The flight was a special Santa charter which minimises travel time rather than having to change planes. Seating is arranged in families at no extra cost, the crew were dressed up and when the captain advised that the aircraft is being pulled to Lapland by 4 specially selected Reindeer sent by the North Pole the children’s adventure had begun!
There is carol singing, fun games involving the whole plane and a colouring competition judged by the captain who leaves the cockpit to give out the prizes. Tacky? Well the children were all loving it and the 3 ½ hour journey passed quicker than ever before so tacky but effective.
From the minute we landed I was impressed by the sheer efficiency of the elves who ensured there was no waiting around and after a short transfer we were having fun as we were kitted out in all our snow suits and boots!
Staying for 2 nights meant that there was time to relax and enjoy ourselves. The flight left at around 6.30 am and with the time difference you arrive in time for lunch and fun in the snow and toboganning before we headed for dinner and an early night ready for the excitement of the next day.
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Search for Santa
The day everyone is looking forward to. The Activity Centre is 25 minutes away by coach (awful name, don’t be put off it was non-commercial), a snow covered wilderness with a large frozen lake, the coaches disappear and then you would never ever know that there where 380 people there (Gatwick and Manchester flights), it is a family occasion and I never felt herded in a mass market crowd. The only timetabled event of the day is your husky ride and then you are free to enjoy the activities as you please.
The Santa trip exceeded my expectations in every way, it was personal, friendly and above all full of experiences that you will probably have never done before.
The husky owner patiently explains to the children their names what to do and when they can stroke them. Two people to a team of dogs, one person seated, one steering and then change half way through. The actual ride is probably about 10 – 15 minutes, very difficult to judge the time as you are under so many layers you can’t get to your watch.
All the other activities can then be done at your leisure and in your order. A husky sled drive, ice hockey, ice fishing, tobogganing, reindeer lassoing, tandem skiing and kick sledding are included today and suitable for all the family. The reindeer sleigh ride finishes at the Igloos, here you will find the ice bar in one and Igloo Fantasia where the Elves put on a show for the children (and adults) in the other. Just for the children there are mini skidoo’s.
You also get the opportunity to feed the reindeers and learn about them. (Did you know there are 180,000 people in Finland and 200,000 reindeer and they are all owned by someone –I was paying attention).
The best part of the holiday is the hunt for Santa. You can go along whenever you want to the area (the elves are there to discreetly nudge you or slow you down to keep things moving), a sleigh pulled by a skidoo whisks you over a frozen lake and through the woods. It is seamless.
On arrival at a simple log cabin you are greeted by the elves who are great and distract the children whilst you hand over your child’s letter. When you are ready you step in to the cabin and the man himself is there. I could believe all over again. He greets the children by name and discusses their letter.
We never queued or waited for anything, at any time you can go into the main log cabin and get hot drinks and biscuits or go into the traditional tent complete with log fire to warm up. Lunch is available anytime from 11am – 3pm - Spaghetti Bolognese or a veggie option with freshly baked bread and hot pancakes – simple but delicious.
You can stay as long as suits your family with coaches going back to the hotels from early afternoon to 5 pm. The majority of guests stay for 4 -5 hours.
That evening there is a Gala dinner for all guests at a set time. At the Holiday Club a large festively decorated hall with a good buffet selection (again with great options for children) crackers etc. There is a little ceremony where the kids receive an Arctic Circle certificate , reindeer and husky driving license – the children were delighted!
The next day the coaches depart at 10am back to the airport and you land back mid afternoon.
This was the 3 day Santa trip and although optional extra trips are offered you only have late afternoon following your search for Santa or in the morning before departing for the airport. I got up early to hunt for the Northern lights on a skidoo (7.30 departure) and somehow squashed in a trip down the longest toboggan run in Finland but with young children in tow it might be too much. Other extras include an hour’s drive with the Huskies, or a 30 minute reindeer run.
When I went I thought 3 days was enough but actually once there I did wish I could have had another day in the snow - the 4 day trip would be the same as above but with a free day to enjoy some extras!
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