And what does Santa Claus do in summer?

The snow is melting, the scent of spring is in the air. If the Christmas decorations are still hanging from the trees and the “Jingle Bells” are blaring from the speakers, then you are visiting one of the most famous men in the world – Santa Claus at Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, his home for more than 30 years. . During a free private audience, you’ll also meet his elf helpers, send mail from the Nikolaus Post Office to his loved ones back home, and do more or less Christmas shopping.

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Audience with Santa Claus: this is possible throughout the year. © Bernadette Olderdissen

And since Santa would be nothing without his reindeer, you can also meet them at a Sami reindeer farm 600 meters away.

Finland

get there

far frankfurt up helsinki after Rovaniemi With Finnairwww.finnair.com, from there by urban bus no.8 inch christmas town. far stuttgart With Swiss air and Finnair up Zurich Y helsinki after Rovaniemiwww.swiss.com

accommodation

Cozy country house with sauna: Santa Claus Holiday Village: DR/F from €99, www.santaclausholidayvillage.fi/de

Luxurious glass igloos: Santa’s Igloos arctic circleDR/F from 581 euros, https://santaclausvillage.info/de

Desert near the city: arctic circle Wilderness Resort, DR/F from €120, https://wildnordic.fi/accommodation/wilderness-resort/

activities

The Santa Claus Village amusement park is 8 kilometers outside of Rovaniemi and it’s because urban bus accessible. Admission is free. reindeer stay Arctic reindeer

General information

Finland Tourism, www.visitfinnland.com/de BOLD

Actually, Santa Claus does not come from Rovaniemi, but from Korvatunturi (Ohrenberg), a mountainous region in Finland. Legend has it that a good friend of Santa Claus revealed his whereabouts in 1927, causing more and more people to search for his idol in the mountains.

Elf fitness: jumping over the Arctic Circle every day

However, as Santa Claus has a big heart and did not want to disappoint his fans, it was shown to them after half a century of waiting in Rovaniemi, in the Arctic Circle. People were so enthusiastic that the white-bearded star agreed to move to Rovaniemi and open an office there in 1985. Since 2010, Rovaniemi has been known as the “official hometown of Santa Claus”.

The oldest building in what is now Santa Claus Village is a cabin built in 1950 in honor of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. She visited Rovaniemi, which was destroyed in World War II, to witness the reconstruction of the city. Today there’s a souvenir shop in the cabin, next door to Santa’s post office, from where eager postal elves send tons of postmarked postcards, letters, and packages around the world.

Of course, Santa gets mail too, reportedly more than 18 million letters from over 200 countries since he moved to Rovaniemi. Santa’s office is in a large building with a roof in the shape of a Santa hat.

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Every day at 10 in the morning, from January to December, 365 days a year, the doors open and Santa Claus welcomes young and old. After a brief walk through a gloomy corridor lined with wooden boxes and gifts stacked on the sides, the time has come: a goblin opens the barrier that leads to a room decorated with gifts, colorful curtains and shelves full of historical books.

At a table there is an old man with a white beard that reaches to his knees, wearing a red cap, striped wool socks and slippers. He looks at his guests through glasses with wise eyes and strives to speak the language of the visitors. When asked what most kids want from him, he smiles. “Asian children tend to live long lives with their families and attend a good university. And little kids always have cars or dolls.” And what do you enjoy most about your job? “That there are no traffic cops in heaven!”

Access to Santa Claus is free, so everyone can really visit him, but taking photos with the white-bearded idol is not allowed: an elf in the photos takes them while another one behind Santa’s room collects the money . “Härveli” is the name of the elven lady, like all the others, which simply means “elf”. “I’m already 165 years old, but I look so young because she jumped over the Arctic Circle every day,” she reports, and that she loves her work. “Here we feel true joy every day and see the full spectrum of emotions. With us, people forget everything.”

Some adults even danced and cried for joy because they had waited their whole lives to meet Santa Claus. This has intensified since the corona pandemic, as it is now even more difficult for many to come to Rovaniemi.

Of course, no visit from Santa would be complete without also meeting his four-legged helpers: the reindeer. Although they only fly for their white-bearded boss, they hope to welcome guests a short distance from Santa Claus Village in the Arctic Reindeer, run by Samin Miia Ylinampa and his family. Here you can get an insight into reindeer herding, take a reindeer sleigh ride or go on a reindeer walk all year round. “The young animals are in ‘reindeer school’ for two to three years before they start working,” explains the owner’s 20-year-old daughter, Rauna Merkku. As with humans, there is a shift schedule, which animal works when and for how long. “In my family, the reindeer are everything, the entire annual cycle revolves around their needs. They are my best friends, always sincere and direct.” So the excursion into the world of Christmas ends with a journey into the world of the Aboriginal Sami and their reindeer, who do not have red noses but are mostly shy in character not unlike many people, who are more about escaping and surviving than to bring gifts.

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