So earlier in the year in my blog Tuscany 2017 I told you about Ella’s school project where she had to point out 3 places she wanted to visit. Well one of them was Lapland to see the real Santa Claus. I am now going to get the second of her list ticked – yeah me!
So this is something I have wanted to do for years – in fact ever since having my little bundle of fun. Last year I started looking into it and decided that this is the year it will happen. I also decided to make it a secret – not just for Ella but for hubby too.
I can be very resourceful when I want, I waited until one day when he was using his laptop and when he left the room I quickly jumped on to get his bosses’ email. I am not sure if I have mentioned this before but Nigel is a secondary school teacher – so days off are fixed. However, during my research I realised it was an extra £1000 for non-term dates and as he would only need one day off I decided to asked the question – “could he take a days leave unpaid”. Anyway, after what felt like an age – it came back approved and Nigel’s boss was in on the surprise.
Now I wasn’t sure if I would be able to keep it to myself, I love talking about holidays, plans and anything travel related – so I just shared with a few select friends so my excitement had an outlet.
Now back to the planning – I looked at a number of companies – most offering a similar product but in the end (on both recommendations and price) I opted for Santa’s Lapland and their 2 night/3 day Santa’s Magic trip. The whole package includes flights, transfers, artic clothing, all the activities, dinner on the first evening and full board the second day.
Twelve months later on December 1st the family elves Tim and Jim brought a letter from the big man himself.
Basically, he wrote to Ella to let her know that as she had been extra good (think he must have the wrong child) she was invited to spend the weekend in Lapland. I think the pair of them were so shocked that it took a while to sink in. About an hour after leaving for work I got the loveliest text from Nigel telling me I am ace but also very deceptive. My best traits 😂.
So after school we packed the car and set off to Newcastle. An overnighter at Doubletree by Hilton at the airport (which is so handy) and we only had to walk over the car park to check in for the flights in the morning. Christmas jumpers on we boarded the plane and the cabin crew were great. Lots of games, songs and fun to get everyone even more pumped. As we started to get closer the landscape changed so much and it was like being cuddled by everything Christmassy. We landed and then it all started. Elves ran amok at the baggage claim, pinching cases, hats and squeaking away in elf speak. I loved it already. On to the coach and the carols began.
We were told the plan of the weekend which started with the crazy drivers throwing the coach around corners. But we had to trust they were in control…..arghhhhh!!!!!!
We picked up our Artic clothes and checked in to our hotel, Santa’s Holiday Club . After quickly throwing on the warm clothing we grabbed a couple of sleds and headed to the toboggan run at the bottom of the village. It was time to release my inner kid and boy it was fun. Don’t get me wrong hard work up the hill but the ride down made it all worthwhile, if we didn’t have to go get dinner I think I would have been there till midnight.
After dinner we decided an hour at a local taverna was in order before we hit the sack and so made our way over the road for a nightcap. It was a mixture of a saloon, karaoke bar and dance hall in one. Strange but great to people watch.
Next day after brekkie and dressed for the Artic circle we boarded the crazy bus ready for Santa’s Village. For anyone going a handy hint is to head straight to the hunt for Santa. We were given this advice the night before and soooooo glad we took it as when we got back from his cabin the queue was pretty big so delay and you will end up hanging around waiting for quite a bit. Going early means you get back and can get on with the rest of the activities.
Anyway back to Santa 🎅. We climbed into a skidoo with a driver and he took us over a frozen lake, through the woods and to a small wooden hut. We knocked and walked in and he greeted Ella by name ….. her face was a picture. After some chit chat he then said he had something from her and pulled her letter from his beard. She was blown away by this ….. it was just magical. Jokes shared, present given it was time to bid him goodbye and let him meet more kiddies. What a man!!!!!!
So after the main event it was time to get stuck in to all the activities, we ice fished, played ice-hockey, zipped up and down on the toboggans. Then it was our time for the huskies. We could hear them way before we met them. They were almost as excited as we were. Now I think we got the lazy bunch (rather than us being too bloody heavy) but being slower meant we got longer. The noise the scenery and experience will never be forgotten and the dogs were adorable and allowed us to snuggle up.
A welcome lunch break in the warmth and it was back out in the snow. We headed over to the other side of the village for reindeer rides, elf stories, drinks in the ice hotel and then it was time to go catch the bus. I honestly thought we would have a couple of hours at the village but we spent the whole day there. But we did it all and missed nothing. We had contemplated an added excursion to the Northern Lights but it would have meant cutting the day short and still no guarantee so we made the right decision. An extra day there (which you can book) and we would have done more. But Aurora Borealis remains on our living list FOR NOW.
A quick swim on return to the hotel and then it was over to the gala dinner. This was the only part we didn’t particularly enjoy. A bit of a British holiday camp vibe. Cheap and nasty wine, average at best food and tables crammed in. However, it was included so we ate and headed back to our entertaining taverna.
The next morning we headed back to the toboggan area and boy the temperature had dropped to proper Artic conditions. We bombed up and down for about an hour as that was all we had time for. Did some souvenirs shopping and then sadly threw our bags on the coach for our trip back to the airport.
Lapland decided to raise our spirits by giving us the most beautiful sky I have ever seen.
For any family thinking of this trip I would absolutely recommend it. In a word it was Magical. Don’t hesitate just go for it( and book about a year in advance to avoid disappointment).
Us Bennetts will remember this special place forever and Santa will get a extra mince pie this Christmas Eve xx