Santas Magic 2/3 Nights 2019/2020
The classic short break, with all our standard activities and benefits included in a lively and action-packed schedule. My cheeky, fun-loving Saari Elves will also be on hand, to ensure that magic and laughter are part and parcel of your time in Saariselkä.
Santa’s Home in Saariselkä
Historically the Sami people of Lapland have always roamed freely across all four countries, following their reindeer herds as they wander the fells and forests all year round, finding the best places to graze. Mrs Claus and I also travel all over Lapland, together with our elves and reindeer, but we always spend December back at home in the little Finnish village of Saariselkä, as we get ready for Christmas Eve and my magical sleigh-ride dash around the world, to leave presents for all the children to wake up to on Christmas Day.
Exciting Activities in Saariselkä
There is so much to do here in my fun-filled forest in Saariselkä, both before and after our private family meeting, so you’ll all need to be full of energy and raring for action. Don’t forget that whichever break you choose, all the fun-packed activities shown below are always included in my own special trips, so you need not worry that you might miss out.
Meet my huskies – how I love their furry coats, sparkling eyes, and their sheer excitement when they run! Mums, Dads and Grandparents can all have a go driving the sled if they wish, whilst children sit on board and enjoy the ride!
My absolute favourite way to travel! Rudolph will be busy in December training my special team of Christmas Eve reindeer, but you will meet some of his friends and enjoy silently swishing through the trees on your sleigh ride.
This is a traditional Lapland treat! I love to see my visitors whizzing down the slope and hear all the laughter and shouts of fun. Mostly it’s the children who keep coming back for more, but often it’s the Mums and Dads too!
Noisy but so much fun! Children can ride time after time on my special mini skidoos. Specially designed to be safe for youngsters, this is a wonderful opportunity for the children to try something exciting and different.
Watching my team of helpers playing snow hockey with our visiting families always makes me laugh – how good do you think you and your family might be? Challenge my helpers to a game and find the snow champions!
With the warming affects of the Gulf Stream, Lapland has significantly milder winters than other areas along the same latitude such as in Greenland or Alaska. The climate is sub-arctic with sparse vegetation in the north and dense forests in the South. The first snowfalls start in September and October and snow will stay on the ground until April and early May. The growing season in summer is adequate for temperate cereals like rye, barley and oats and also potatoes. After the Polar Night in midwinter, the sun rises for the first time above the fells with a burst of pale colours whilst during midsummer, the sun doesn’t set. The local Sámi people have always paid great attention to these natural phenomenon and the ancient Sámi believed that all objects in nature had a soul whether people, animals, plants, stones or the Northern Lights.
Interesting Facts and figures about Lapland
Lapland holds under 4% of Finland’s population yet about 30% of the land area. Just under 7% of Lapland’s area is made up of lakes with the largest being Lake Inari. The population is 184,000 with approx 7,000 indigenous Sámi people and there are over 200,000 reindeer! The administrative capital is Rovaniemi with 58,000 people. Finnish is the main language with some people also speaking the Northern Sámi, Inari Sámi and Skolt Sámi languages. Lapland is also recognised as being the home of Father Christmas.
Flora and fauna
Lapland does not have a great abundance of animals but what it does have are very impressive. The most well known is the reindeer which have adapted to the harsh climate living off hay, grass and lichens which in winter they dig for under the snow. There are also wolverine, bear and wolf whilst in the sky fly buzzards, eagles, larks and willow warblers. Pine and spruce trees are common in the south with more treeless fell heaths in the north and many lichens in these sparsely wooded areas. Sphagnum mosses thrive in the boggy areas as well as an abundance of vitamin rich berries. The Cloudberry is the most well known collected from the bogs in late July and early August.
Sámi traditions and culture
Traditionally the Sámi are a semi nomadic people mainly connected with reindeer herding and also fishing which are caught by drilling holes through the ice of the frozen lakes. As self-supporting nomads, their clothes and goods have been designed for largely practical use but they are also highly decorative. Functional items include knives, cases, cups and the well known ‘four winds’ hat. Use of wood, antlers, leather and roots is common and the traditional colours are red, yellow, green and blue. The famous Sámi house is the Kota which is a wigwam style tent, covered with firs and skins. Inside is a fire on which reindeer and smoked fish delicacies were lovely prepared.
All this magic included in the price
Flights - Airport transfers - Accommodation - Thermal clothing - Private meetings with Santa - Sleigh ride search for Santa - Igloo Experience - Husky sled-ride - Reindeer sleigh-ride - Snow & ice fun activities
Lapland Holiday Itinerary
Having just flown across the Arctic Circle, the children will love being greeted at Ivalo Airport by my reindeer and friends, the Samis and one of my elves, presenting a delightful photo opportunity to capture your family’s first few minutes in my homeland!
A short, comfortable 25-minute coach-ride transfers you to your chosen hotel or cabin in Saariselkä – just enough time to see if the children can spot more reindeer or maybe my little log-cabin home through the forests bordering the road.
Time for your ‘Michelin-man’ impressions, as my helpers get you fitted with your complimentary thermal over-suits, boots, socks, gloves and hats.
Then it’s fun-time – a chance to explore and get your bearings on arrival in my winter wonderland, make snowmen, go tobogganing, or just relax in a fragrant Finnish sauna – the choice is yours!
For hotel guests a wonderful first Lapland night dinner sets the scene for tomorrow’s excitement, whilst those in my Christmas Cabins will enjoy a home-cooked family meal!
* Toboggans are available from my partner hotels and Christmas Cabins and a small deposit is usually payable locally.
This extra day on my 4 day break will normally be your second day, and gives you the chance to start building up the excitement, with your choice of my fantastic Optional Adventures. And don’t forget that early bookings can save £££’s with my 50% discount off children’s prices!
Try a sensational daytime Snowmobile Safari, where parents take it in turns to drive the snowmobile and children will be towed in a special sled by the guide, or the evening snowmobile option, with my popular Northern Lights Adventure. Or perhaps enjoy a few hours downhill skiing, or Saariselkä’s toboggan run. Animal lovers may prefer to go for an extra, longer Husky Sled Ride or Reindeer Sleigh Ride – always a popular option with the children.
Families in my cabins will be welcomed back to dinner by their host, whilst half board hotel guests dine in the hotels. There will be lots of stories to tell about the day’s adventures, as the excitement mounts for tomorrow’s Big Day!
Search for Santa
My helpers will pick you up for the ultimate Christmas adventure, enjoying all the following exciting activities at some point throughout the day, all of which are included in my prices!
Husky Sled Ride – where the children get to ride with a parent (and shout ‘mush mush!’ at every opportunity!), and grown-ups can all take a turn at actually ‘driving’ your own sled! Imagine your sled, drawn by five or six eager huskies, straining at the leash and eager to run, then released – and you’re off! Racing across the snow and through the woods is the most perfect way to experience Lapland’s winter wonderland.
Reindeer Sleigh Ride – meet your reindeer and your local Sami guide then take a wonderful 7-10 minute ride into the picturesque woods, with the ‘swish’ of the runners across the snow, and children and parents cuddled together under blankets in the sleigh.
My Elves and Igloo Fantasia is hidden away in the woods and once there, join in the fun and games with my Elves in their Igloo Wonderland before visiting my Artistic Igloo and admiring the magnificent ice sculptures and enjoying a drink in my ice bar.*
My Reindeer centre is full of exciting reindeer based activities. Join in the fun and play on the Crazy Reindeer Golf, Try your hand and Reindeer Lasso or feed one of my reindeer friends, and find out what surprises are in store at my Special Reindeer Barn.
Lunch is also included, to ‘recharge your batteries’ for the afternoon. This will be a simple and warming 2-course meal, with plenty of hot berry juice, squash, tea and coffee also available.
A host of Snow and Ice Fun Activities are provided for you to enjoy, such as ice-fishing, snow-hockey, kick-sledding (a crazy Finnish cross between a scooter and a toboggan!), tandem skiing, mini-skidoo rides for the children, and my favourite – tobogganing.
See your children’s faces light up with wonder, as you fulfill your family’s Search for Santa, and meet me in an Exclusive Private Family Meeting in my hideaway log-cabin home, with my elves on hand to make you welcome and ensure there is magic in the air!
Refreshments are included too, and are available throughout the day, for those times when a few minutes warming up round a crackling log fire is welcomed.
Finally, back ‘home’ in your hotel, finish the day with a wonderful Gala Dinner. In my Christmas Cabins meanwhile, a special festive dinner rounds off the day, while you re-live every unforgettable moment of your biggest ever Christmas adventure!
* local charge for drinks applies
Fun-time again, with the chance to thrill to another big adventure, whether pre-booked in the UK or chosen locally the day before from my range of Optional Adventures. You may have fallen in love with the huskies and want to enjoy an even longer Husky Sled Ride, or relax on Rudolph’s Reindeer Run, or perhaps take off on a Snowmobile Safari for high-octane thrills – there are plenty of options to choose from.
This morning also gives you a chance to browse the village’s souvenir shops, to choose from their range of traditional hand-made Lappish items and clothes, Christmas gifts and toys.
My helpful team will collect you from your doorstep by coach for the short ride to the airport to catch your flight home, to a chorus of fond farewells!
The amount of time allowed to do these activities depends on the actual flight departure time
Santa's Hotel Holiday Club
This superb hotel has everything a family could wish for on a Lapland break, and has proved over recent years to be the popular choice of most families traveling on my special breaks. The exciting indoor pool with its waves and chutes will keep the children amused for hours, and parents can watch from the comfort of the pool bar.
Santa's Hotel Tunturi
A unique hotel with an excellent choice of rooms and suites, including the luxury Gielas wing. I love the atmosphere here, backed up by friendly service and great food.
Santa's Hotel Riekonlinna
This elegant hotel has excellent facilities and even has its own special Northern Lights viewing room! Situated close to the village centre, this is a very popular family hotel.
Santa's Saariselkä Inn
This cosy, centrally situated property in Saariselkä is the smallest in my selection, and offers friendly family service, in traditional Lapland style.
Santa's Star Arctic Hotel
Located at the top of the Saariselkä fell and newly opened in December 2017, the Star Arctic is the perfect spot from which to view the Northern Lights from the comfort of your accommodation. Many suites are duplex and all suites and Glass Cabins rooms have a large glass window looking out over the surrounding forest and the dancing lights of the Aurora Borealis. The high standard accommodation and modern elegance make this hotel perfect for families who want to experience natural Lapland with a bit of luxury.
Santa's Christmas Cabins
3-6 bedroom - In these cabins, you have the dedicated care and attention of one of my very dear helpers, who will look after you during your stay in my homeland. This is a way to experience Lapland in the most traditional way, whilst still enjoying all the comforts of a home from home!
Need To Know
What should I pack?
If you're coming to Lapland for the day, we recommend you wear warm clothes and only take hand luggage on the plane, as we'll lend you a cosy all-in-one thermal suit, as well as boots, gloves, socks and a hat. If you're on a 3 or 4-night trip, we'll still kit you out with all the necessary gear - which is yours for the duration of your holiday - but it's a good idea to bring lots of layers, too.
What’s the weather like?
In December, daytime temperatures generally range from 0 to -20 degrees, but it can fall as low as -40 during a particularly cold spell. You’ll get four to five hours of ‘grey light’ between about 10am and 3pm. The rest of the time it’s dark, but still quite bright because of all the snow. What’s more, all the activity areas are well lit.
What’s the food like?
It depends on where you stay, but most hotels in Lapland put on international buffet spreads. Usually, there’ll be a selection of meat, fish and pasta dishes to choose from, as well as a variety of vegetables and salad. You’ll also find children’s favourites, like chips, meatballs, and burgers on offer. And some places serve Finnish specialities, like smoked reindeer pizza.
Is Lapland suitable for young children?
We don’t recommend our Lapland trips for children under 4-years-old. That’s because the chilly temperatures and types of activities aren’t suited to really little ones. If you do bring toddlers along, though, you’ll need to provide their own thermal clothing.
Do I need insurance?
It’s essential you and your family have the protection you need in case the unexpected happens. What’s more, if you want to take part in any snow sports when you’re away, you’ll need a policy that covers you for these.
Can I drive a snowmobile?
If you want to get behind the wheel of a snowmobile, make sure you bring your full UK driving licence with you. As long as local guides agree, children aged 12 and over can ride as a passenger on your snowmobile. Younger children have to travel in a sleigh pulled by one instead.