In 2010 when Lyla was four we took a three day trip to Lapland the week before Christmas. We researched the trip beforehand as a lot of what is on offer is very commercialised and all about spending money in large Christmas themed shopping centres. We didn’t want that. We stayed in Kittila in Northern Finland at the Harriniva Lodge.
The resort hosts the largest husky farm in the world and you get the option to go on a husky ride whilst there. The noise of the huskies and the cold is indescribable. I took with us some of the best thermals, gloves and snowsuits money can buy but, we still borrowed the resorts snowsuits and wore them on top! The husky ride including the wind chill was down to minus 35! Very cold. As you breathe in you actually feel the moisture freezing on the inside of your nose.
The main part of the Father Christmas experience is meeting the man himself out in the woods in his log cabin. You are picked up on a sledge and driven through snow topped pine trees where you are met by elves in a shelter with a roaring fire. The elf then takes you to meet Father Christmas whose lodge is a few meters away hidden in the trees. You arrange before you go that your child’s letter to Father Christmas arrives before you, so that he is holding it when you arrive at his lodge. It is the little details like this that made the trip so special.
Earlier on in our stay whilst having lunch we heard bells ringing outside and everyone walked towards the windows to look out. Father Christmas had arrived on his sleigh. There is a decent restaurant and a small gift shop. The staff were courteous and did everything they could to help when Lyla got an ear infection and needed antibiotics.
On the grounds there is also an ice hotel which adults can stay in with a bar. Whilst we were there they were decorating and moulding the ice – a constant and ever changing job – with LED lights and an iron to create shapes in the ice. It was fascinating to watch.
One of the highlights for me was seeing the Northern Lights over the lake out back. The picture stays in my mind as one of the most beautiful I have ever seen.
You can find out more on their website