Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland.
I had to admit, the village had it all. Every little detail was as Christmassy as it can get. The red planked houses had little curly details on the pointed black roofs. A whole lot of jolly music surrounded by the pine trees made the picture complete. On the main square in the village, they had a sow height meter. It showed a disappointing 0cm, the only thing missing maybe.
We lined up next to a herd of tourists, our legs spread across the artic circle, the line representing 66° North. If you have ever been to Greenwich London, then you know the drill. After visiting Santa’s office and the seemingly endless souvenir shops, we entered the postal office. The mailbox would send your cards, just in time for the next Christmas. Some postcards with Santa on a motorcycle disappeared in the box, something less to worry about in December!
“Shall we go to the main building?” I asked Koen. “I think they have a sort of museum there.” And indeed, a nice exposition was there to enjoy, with some actual interesting historical facts. “Would you like to meet Santa Claus?” A nearby elf asked near the end of the exposition. I was a bit taken of guard, not expecting he would be here. Koen took advantage of it by leading me into the room before I could answer. By the length of the circles in which we were walking towards the main part of the room, we could tell they were used at a whole lot more people! We could walk straight trough it though, taking time now and there to watch some nice pictures displayed on the walls.
An elf came our way and led us into in front of the stage where Santa was sitting. He looked as authentic as it can get, his appearance finished off with some nice Finnish boots and a warming smile. Next to his wooden chair, there were two benches onto which we were led to take a seat. “Now well, my dear children, what are your names?” Santa asked. I was a bit flabbergasted by the scenario. There we sat, two adults in shorts, next to Santa Claus, in the middle of July. The fact that Santa stayed in character, was maybe to most fascinating aspect of the happening. Koen decided to play along. “I’m Koen and this is Ellen, we are from Belgium.” He said. “Oh very nice!” Santa Said. “Are you enjoying your trip?” “Very much!” Koen answered with a big smile. It was hard to ignore the hilarity of it all. “Time for a picture!” The elf announced. And with a flash, the meeting was over. Santa wished us all the best and we were led away. Maybe this time, we would actually buy the picture.
END NOTE Please go and visit Santa’s Village when you’re in the area, even if you’re not a big supporter of the commercial fuss surrounding it. After all, there is no entrance fee (enough possibilities to spend your money inside though, all your Christmas presents and decoration if you like). It is quite the experience to meet with Santa Claus in an authentic setting. You can be sure, Santa will stay in character, no matter what.
Even in summer, the message stays valid. “Spreading the message of love and goodwill” should be honoured all year round, no question about that.
A little bit of Christmas to brighten your day, at any time of the year: https://www.santaclausvillage.info