Santa’s Lap, Lapland in Finland
At ‘Ear Fell’ or Korvatunturi in Finland, which is in the Arctic Circle, resides the REAL jolly old fat man. Though you can’t visit his home, hidden away in the beauty of the fell, not too far lies Santa Claus Village and Santa Park in Rovaniemi, where you can catch Santa and his elves all year round, preparing for the Yuletide season.
These fantastical places organise private meetings with Santa, adventures involving trolls and even have an Elf School. Children are bound to be entranced by the fanciful, snow-laden lands of legend. Santa also occasionally visits the surreal Joulukka, a little place hidden away in the forest next to Rovaniemi.
One of the highlights of Lapland would be hopping into a reindeer sleigh and going off in the distance to view one of the most spellbinding displays the World offers– The Aurora Borealis.
Ever fancied trying reindeer meat? Take a helping at restaurants; they usually serve it alongside traditional Lappish spreads.
Christmas towns in America
Santa’s Candy Castle
A surprising number of towns in the United States feature very Christmasy names including Noel, Mistletoe and even Humbug!
Santa Claus, Indiana
‘America’s Christmas Hometown’ is the only place with a post office officially called Santa Claus. Each year, volunteers gather to respond to the letters sent by little children. They have celebrations that last the first three weekends every December, with an ‘LED tree of lights.’ At the town’s Santa Claus Museum, take a peek at the place’s history; shop for gifts, candy and decorations at the Santa Claus Christmas Store. To treat yourself to heaps of sweets, head to Santa’s Candy Castle.
North Pole, Alaska
Another tiny town competing to be the true home of Santa is North Pole, Alaska (a suburb of Fairbanks), that also receives a large number of letters addressed to St. Nick. The Santa Claus House even offers personalised letters from Father Christmas. Christmas on Ice is the most exciting six-week event, which has themed ice sculptures and a playground for kids.
Christened on the eve of the holiday, ‘Christmas City’, USA is well-known for it’s Live Advent Calendar; starting on the 1st of December, every evening at 5.30, a different local merchant’s door is knocked on by a group of visitors and treats are passed out. The traditional German outdoor Christmas market witnesses the consumption of bratwurst and mulled wine. The highlight is the brightly-lit steel star, originally made of wood, erected in the 1930s.
Christmas Island in Australia
This little Australian island is renowned for it’s beauty and wildlife where a large variety of birds reside, including some endemic species like the Christmas Thrush and Christmas Frigatebird. The island witnesses one of the natural wonders of the world when the red crabs migrate around November. Over 100 million of them move to the sea and release their embryos in the water.
Taking a cruise to its shores is usually the way to reach this island, which offers several options for accommodation and recreation, including fishing, scuba diving, snorkelling, golf, nature hikes and bird watching.