Anyone been to see Santa in Lapland?

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  • Anyone been to see Santa in Lapland?
  • boblo
    Member

    I assume you're talking about Rovaniemi? That's the place billed as 'Santas Home'?

    I biked through there a couple of years ago though in summer. I was left with the impression of a Disneyesque tack fest, not something I'd be interested in especially when combined with hoardes of kids…. Not too sure about Finland as a classic ski destination either or for 'Finland' to be used in conjunction with 'cheap'. We stayed in a couple of ski resorts en route and though 'nice', couldn't compare with the classic French/Italian/Swiss Alpine resorts or even the better stuff in the US/Canada.

    If it were my money, I'd go somewhere else for skiing and forget the Santa angle. Sorry.

    higgo
    Member

    Yes, I know he's not real but the kids still believe (or do a good job of pretending).

    To be honest it's not something we'd really thought about until we were looking for somewhere to go skiing at Christmas. Clever-clogs here sees Finland in the ski brochures and mentions to the wife that we could go there and include a trip to Santa for the kids. I've since written off the skiing holiday bit as, at that time of the year, very few of the pistes are open/lit. There doesn't appear to be a huge amount of skiing there anyway but if it's 50% closed I don't think I want to spend a week there.

    Now fortunately we hadn't told the kids we were going to see Santa but Mrs Higs was nearly as excited as the kids themselves so I'm charged with seeing if I can find a short trip. Looking about in the 'net and it seems that many people's experience is 'cheap' or 'tacky' rather than 'special'.

    So….
    ~ anyone been?
    ~ who did you go with? recommend or avoid?

    Premier Icon terrahawk
    Subscriber

    we went a few years ago, went on a dog sled (ace), a reindeer sled (ace/faster than dogs) then a 'safari' on snowmobiles (ace/really fast). then off to this wooden village to watch some shamanistic ritual in a hut and then a natter with a Finnish Santa-alike.
    it was pretty good and not at all tacky.

    I wouldn't recommend a trip though. It cost me a bloody fortune.

    higgo
    Member

    It cost me a bloody fortune.

    Yes – it's looking like either we take the kids to see Santa or we go skiing, not both.

    I know what I think and I think I know what Mrs Higs will say on the issue.

    Premier Icon terrahawk
    Subscriber

    your kids will love it though.

    higgo
    Member

    your kids will love it though.

    yeah but, as my old man used to say… you don't miss what you never had.

    Premier Icon Tracey
    Subscriber

    We took the girls a few years ago, had a great time but it is expensive

    We went with this compan

    http://www.canterbury-tales.com

    Tracey

    Dark Side
    Member

    My In-Laws live in Rovaniemi so I can give some advice. Boblo may have been through in Summer and found it a little tacky, but that is missing the point somewhat as you are asking about it as a winter destination. Its worth a trip to 'Santa's Village' if you are in the area, but it is no more than a couple of hours entertainment including the obligatory reindeer or dog sled ride. You can also hire snow mobiles if the kids are a little older. Its pretty cool for the kids being able to send postcards from the post office in the village as well, which they can stamp themselves with the Arctic Circle watermark. If you are lucky there is a good chance you will see the Northern Lights, which are truly beautiful.

    In terms of skiing, Rovaniemi and the surrounding area is ok for the odd day but is too far south to get proper elevation. The local resort is also notorious for only having 50% of its 6 (iirc) runs open. Pretty boring after an hour or two as the longest is about 600 metres long! You need to travel a couple of hours further north to get to the decent resorts really, but beware they can get very cold!

    FWIW I would recommend a trip to Helsinki for a few days, then take a flight up to Rovaniemi for a couple of days which would be ample time. The village could be described as a 'little tacky' but to be honest its pretty hard to make something like that anything but a little tacky.

    higgo
    Member

    Interestingly we enquired about a Lapland skiing holiday with Canterbury. It was their honest response that put us off the original idea of a December week's skiing with the Santa trip tacked on.

    Have requested a brochure.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    As alternative, we did LaplandUK 2 years ago, and for our kids at the right age it was wonderful. It's a forest in Kent that has been special effected up using theatrical technology to make it like Lapland – fake snow, log cabins, huskies, reindeer, elves, etc. You get there through a magic tunnel in the woods – and as long as the kids are young enough to accept it, it works beautifully.

    It is as a single day trip, the best day out I've ever had with my family – I cried a bit too at their wonderment.

    http://www.laplanduk.co.uk/index.php

    higgo
    Member

    As alternative, we did LaplandUK 2 years ago, and for our kids at the right age it was wonderful. ….

    http://www.laplanduk.co.uk/index.php

    Bingo!

    It's quite a long drive to Kent from us – long enough to tell the kids we're driving to Lapland.

    So a weekend there early December and a week's skiing at Christmas and everyone's happy.

    Out of interest, how old were your kids? Ours will be 7 next xmas and have shown no sign so far of working out (or having been told) the truth* about Santa.

    (*unless it's all a huge double-bluff and he's real after all?)

    coffeeking
    Member

    you don't miss what you never had.

    Until you later find out everyone else had it and it could have been ace. 🙂

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    mine were nearly 5 and nearly 3 at the time but we went with friends whose eldest is (was) a worldly wise 7-nearly-8. She was slightly suspicious by stuff like the fact it wasn't very cold although there was snow all around. But her parents played it dead right – what if it is true and you don't believe – are you prepared to risk all your presents on the basis of something you're not sure of (Isn't that the basis of a lot of religion?)

    Honestly speaking, it depends on your kids. I'd suggest most at 6 or 7 and under will believe it unless very sceptical sorts. And once they get past say 10, while they won't believe themselves unless they are little shits they will play along to enjoy the enjoyment of their younger siblings. There were plenty of other children there when we went enjoying the day out and the activities despite being too old to really go for it.

    The staff are excellent and the last part of the day, the actual visit to see Santa in his grotto was perfect. When booking you provide a lot of information about the children which he is obviously briefed upon / has a crib sheet for in his book when you get in to see him, so the way he can engage them on stuff that only the real Santa could know about is terrific.

    Premier Icon terrahawk
    Subscriber

    Lapland Kent a bit better than Lapland New Forest then?

    antigee
    Member

    eldest went with her cousin care of bank of granny and youngest taken by wishuponastar charity as got nominated by hospital (she's fine but had to endure a lot)
    both had a great time more so in the woods with the dogsleighs / wild reindeer / skidoos etc – the village is little twee and not crashly commercial but it is then again i hate shopping for useless tat
    kids loved it
    also love skiing and if had to choose where to spend money i'd use it on a ski holiday to pay for private lessons with an english speaking instructor so kids can improve or get skiing well
    plus you can do sledging etc on a ski holiday – think only way to get a skidoo ride is to break a leg though

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Subscriber

    We're doing it this year – youngest should be over her Santa phobia, eldest just about still believes. Think we were looking at around £1600 for a day trip, not sure if if it's been finalised by MrsSwadey yet….

    Premier Icon vinnyeh
    Subscriber

    We're doing it this year – youngest should be over her Santa phobia, eldest just about still believes. Think we were looking at around £1600 for a day trip, not sure if if it's been finalised by MrsSwadey yet….

    Choked, then realised that price wasn't per person… I hope.

    Crell
    Member

    We went when we stayed in Ruka a couple of years ago. The kids were 3 and 5 and they (and we) thought it was absolutely fantastic. We were skiing with Crystal and instead of going to the "commercial" santa we ended up going to a very low key traditional 200 year old Lap farm house. I'm sure it was this place. There was no rush, no hassle and no commercialism. Just a very cool experience, with the kids listening to stories, talking to Santa (Joulupukki) and Mrs Claus. The kids thought it was fantastic and very magical and still talk about it now. They've seen the "real" Santa.

    Its also a lot cheaper to combine a visit with a skiing holiday – everyone's a winner 🙂

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