IN SEARCH OF SANTA

With frost­bite nip­ping at their toes, one fam­ily dis­cov­ers Santa’s se­crets on a mag­i­cal visit to Fin­nish La­p­land.

Five Star Kids - - THE VIBE POOL PARTY KIDS’ CLUB WHY YOUR KIDS WILL - Words Deb­bie Neil­son-Hunter

Christ­mas in Aus­tralia is a sum­mery scene of seafood, sun, surf and sand, and yet so many post­card im­ages con­tinue to de­pict the win­try north­ern Euro­pean tra­di­tions of sleigh rides and log fires. I ex­pe­ri­enced the lat­ter as a wide-eyed child and although I’ve spent many more Christ­mases in Aus­tralia, for me, noth­ing com­pares to a white Christ­mas with all the trim­mings (in­clud­ing a to­bog­gan run). It was some­thing I’d wanted to share with my own chil­dren be­fore they lost their lust for magic, but how could I guar­an­tee snow on Christ­mas Day? It’s not as easy as it seems. There was only one place I could think of that could de­liver my wish: Fin­nish La­p­land, on the Arc­tic Cir­cle. I then went one bet­ter and aimed our com­pass at the of­fi­cial home­town of Santa Claus him­self.

Planned like a rein­deer’s head and flanked by Fin­land’s long­est river, the Kemi­joki ( where it merges with the Ou­nasjoki River), Ro­vaniemi, more than lives up to its de­scrip­tion of an “ur­ban oa­sis amidst the Arc­tic wilder­ness where cul­ture, wild ac­tiv­i­ties and fairy­tales come to­gether”. Se­ri­ously, be­sides a selfie with Santa, who could re­sist a chance to dine in an igloo?

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