THE boss asked: “Fancy a trip to La­p­land.” With a five-yearold daugh­ter and a life­time of dream­ing about Santa, I was packed be­fore he’d fin­ished ask­ing his ques­tion.

The People - - Sp Live -

Our First Choice plane from Gatwick was decked out for Christ­mas, so by the time we landed at Kit­tila Air­port af­ter a 31⁄ hour flight my daugh­ter Am­ber and I were burst­ing with ex­cite­ment.

“Look at the snow, Mummy,” she said gaz­ing at the white won­der­land.

Lug­gage col­lected, we were met by our guide Melody – an elf – who whisked us off to the elves’ ware­house to pick up our snow­suits.

Then it was out­side for a quick snow­ball fight be­fore a 40-minute minibus ride to Snow Vil­lage in the mid­dle of a frosty for­est.

Yl­las is on the north side of the Arc­tic Cir­cle in Fin­nish La­p­land.

It was only 2pm but it was al­most dark. On av­er­age there are only three hours of sun­light a day in De­cem­ber.

On ar­rival we headed straight out for some­thing to eat, a de­li­cious plate of meat­balls and mash washed down with a mug of hot chocolate in a log cabin.

Ice

Re­fu­elled and ready to go, we headed out to ex­plore.

Our first stop was Yl­las’s ice ho­tel with its frosted rooms and stun­ning glacial sculp­tures. You can even snooze in the sub-zero set­ting by snug­gling up in a sleep­ing bag placed on rein­deer hides.

But there was no time for us to rest with Am­ber so keen to meet Santa.

The ever-oblig­ing Melody ush­ered us aboard her snow­mo­bile – it’s how all elves travel, ap­par­ently – and sped us through the for­est to the man him­self.

Only elves know where Santa’s se­cret house is and as we drew up out­side his cabin I thought we’d gone through the wardrobe into Nar­nia.

A spe­cial elf greeted us with a lamp to show us the way to Santa’s door. Am­ber was hop­ping about with ex­cite­ment and – I ad­mit it! – so was I.

When it was even­tu­ally our turn to go in­side, Am­ber in­stantly fell si­lent.

She was so over­come with emo­tion she could barely tell Santa her name.

Butwhen he asked her if she’d been a good girl, she replied, “Yes!!” in a nice, loud voice.

Later, with a present in hand, we said good­bye be­fore head­ing back through the for­est at speed. Back at the vil­lage, we could hear the huskies call­ing and set off for an­other fun-filled ride.

We climbed into the sleigh pulled by five dogs and set off at speed through the for­est.

One of the high­lights was spot­ting a real rein­deer. All the racing around left us freez­ing af­ter a while so we headed to Mrs Claus’s cabin to thaw out.

Here you can warm up and make Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions. And post that all-im­por­tant let­ter to Santa.

Time passed in a blur of ex­cite­ment and, be­fore we knew it, it was time to head to our ho­tel, the Snow Princess.

Built in a tra­di­tional Lap­pish style, it boasts a cosy, fes­tive feel.

Af­ter tuck­ing into the gala din­ner, we just had enough strength to go to our lovely, warm room, where Am­ber

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