A letter to Santa Claus

Do you know who gets most letters in the world? Santa Claus, of course! Santa Claus’ post office at the Arctic Circle receives letters every day the year around from children all over the world. The nearer Christmas it gets the more letters arrive to Santa. Last Christmas Santa received more than half a million letters from 200 different countries. With less than 70 days to Christmas, it is time for everyone to send their Christmas wishes to Santa Claus.

The Santa Claus Official Post Office is situated at the Arctic Circle approx. 8 km outside Rovaniemi center in Finnish Lapland. It is open every day all year around. There the elves help Santa to open the letters and sort them out by country and when the Christmas rush is over they help Santa to answer everyone’s letter, too.

 

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You can also send your Christmas cards to your friends from here. There are two post boxes where to put your cards; one for the nearest Christmas and one for the next Christmas,

Santa Claus’ Main Post Office—the only official Santa Claus’ post office—is part of the official network of Finland’s post office, Posti. From Santa Claus’ Main Post Office, you can find a wide assortment of Christmas products, souvenirs, gift items, stamps, postcards and other products related to the collection and study of stamps.

A memory like no other from Santa Claus’ Main Post Office is a real letter from Santa. Here you can order the letter from Santa Claus’ Main Post Office in Rovaniemi. The recipient will receive the letter just before Christmas!

Since 1985, Santa Claus has received approximately 17 million letters from almost 200 countries! You can also write a letter to Santa Claus! His address is:

Santa Claus
Santa Claus’ Main Post Office
Tähtikuja 1
96930 Arctic Circle, FINLAND

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Outside the Post Office you can find an interesting point from where you can find out the distances to different parts of the world from here.

 

 

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In Santa Claus Village the Post Office is flagged with the official flag for Santa Claus Post Office.

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Just before Christmas 2014 the official Posti of Finland relised a new stamp with the picture of Santa Claus looking out from Ounasvaara fell over the city of Rovaniemi. There is only a limited amount to buy of this stamp.

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Snow and ice design and architecture

The surroundings of snow and ice for approx. 7 months a year in Lapland has inspired the Lappish people to create ways and methods to take advantage of that fact. There are several occasions during winter that are related to snow or ice, like art exhibitions, buildings and happenings.

Snow and ice buildings and happenings related to snow are of course depending on the weather conditions, but with many years of experiences there have not been great problems so far. The winter is cold and snowy in Lapland.

A building that this year raises for the 19th time is the SnowCastle in the town of Kemi, about 100 km from Rovaniemi by the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia. The SnowCastle is already under construction and will be opened on January 25th 2014. The SnowCastle has different themes and both contents and architecture vary every year. Inside the castle there are light-effects on the ice-sculptures and the constructions. The SnowCastle will be open daily until the season ends on April 6th. This date could change depending on the weather conditions. Reservations can be done for the restaurant and for the chapel. Many couples get married here during the season. These pictures are from the SnowCastle in 2007.

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The snow-building is also represented at the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi. Every year there is something made of snow and ice. Even a whole log house made of only ice with an ice bar was built there in winter 2008-2009. 

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The Arctice Winter Wonderland with long snow slopes and a playground for children at the Arctic Circle is very popular. This year they have expanded with a building containing ice bar, art gallery and ice hotel.

In SantaPark you can visit the ice gallery. There are sculptures of wild animals living in the arctic regions. Last year’s visitor was Sid from the Ice Age movies. This year Niko the reindeer is visiting the Ice Gallery of SantaPark. There you can also meet the Ice Princess, try to sit on her throne and have a cold drink in glasses made from ice.

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At the Lapland University there is a Snow Design Project running under the Faculty of Art and Design and the University has the knowledge of snow design that it wants to export to other parts of the world.

Earlier projects of snow design in Rovaniemi are such as these:

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Many hotels around Lapland offer the customers possibilities to sleep in an igloo in combination to a hotel room. The night in an igloo is an extraordinary experience where you also get a certificate. You are provided with warm clothes and sleeping bags, the beds are comfortable and you always have the possibility to return into your hotel room if you find the igloo night too challenging.

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At the Arctic Circle outside Rovaniemi, near the house of Santa Claus a new world, Arctice Winter World, has opened its doors this winter. You enter the world through the wooden house and for an entrance fee you can visit the ice bar with spectacular ice sculptures and the igloo hotel, everything made of just snow and ice. Outside the igloos there is a huge icy slope for downhill tobogganing.

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The Arctice Winter world opened on December 5th, 2013 and is planned to keep open until the end of March this year. I was amazed by the igloo hotel. There were several rooms of different size and all with its special ice decorations on the walls. The beds looked tempting with comfortable madrasses. You can book a room on the home page and you get a sleeping bag to use. The walls in the hall are also decorated with outstanding sculptures.

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All over the Arctice Winter world there were special colored lights. After the entrance you enter into the ice bar and café. On real reindeer hides the whole family can enjoy non-alcoholic or alcoholic warm or cold drinks. Cold drinks can also be served in real ice glasses.

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Santa Claus

As it is Christmas time I want to share some links with you, from where you can check out what Santa Claus is doing these days.

This camera is from inside Santa Claus office at the Arctic Circle. Santa is there every day of the year, even in summer, from 9-17 in Finnish time.

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/santaclauslive-inside-cam

Jessi och Dagny hos tomten våren 2008

This video was taken yesterday on December 23rd, 2013, as Santa was taking off from Arctic Circle to visit all children all over the world and give presents:

http://bambuser.com/v/4208020

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And here are more info about Santa Claus’ office at the Arctic Circle. You should visit it some time!

https://shop.santaclauslive.com/santa_purchase/special_order_video/1

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You can also read more about the Arctic Circle and Santa Claus village here.

And you have three more weeks time to visit SantaPark also.

With these links I wish you all a Very, Merry Christmas and thank you all more than 8,000 visitors I have had on my blog since April 2013 when I started. Se you soon!

 

Nice souvenirs to bring home from Lapland

In the shops of Rovaniemi and specially at the Santa Claus Village on the Arctic Circle you can find a lot of special Lappish souvenirs to buy. My aim here is not to mention them all. That would be absolutely impossible. I will mention just a few.

I, myself, find the hand-made dolls from the Arctic Doll Factory really adorable. They are all dressed up in traditional dresses of the Lappish people. The dresses are made from normal fabric but also using reindeer furs. On the home page of the factory (unfortunately not in English) you can see there are dolls of all kinds of lengths, boys and girls, and in differently colored dresses, and you can order your own favorite from there, too. The factory was founded in 1953 and is celebrating 60 years this year. After I had dreamed about getting one of these dolls for myself for several years I finally decided and bought myself an adorable couple; Matti and Maila.

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Taigakoru is a goldsmith’s workshop for silver and gold jewelry in Rovaniemi. From the home page of Taigakoru you find all the different jewelry they manufacture. One of the most well-known part of the collection is the collection of symbols from the ancient shaman drums.

The shaman drum was used by the shamans of the Northern peoples in their ceremonies. Shamans were healers and predicted the future. They called on the spirits for help by beating a drum with a drumstick made from reindeer bone until they fell into a trance. The symbols appear on the drum’s different parts. The upper part of the drum skin represented the heavens, the middle part earth and earthly life and the lower part Tuonela, the underworld. The shaman used the symbols on the various parts of the drum to foretell events. Each symbol has its own meaning.

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The Sun and good weather, particularly during the reindeer calving season, made crops grow and it brought good fortune. After midwinter, people held festivals when the sun first edged over the horizon. They made sacrifices to it so that it would restore and bring vitality to creation. The sun has a very special significance in the Arctic, as during the period of the polar night in winter the sun does not rise above the horizon at all, and on the other hand in the summertime it does not set at all.

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Other symbols from the Shaman drum made to ornaments in silver by Taigakoru are: The Moon, Ukko or the God of Thunder, Akka or the Goddess of fertility, the God of hunting, the Black-throated loon, the Crane, the Bear, the Reindeer, the Wolf, the Beaver, the Boat, the Salmon and the Rota.

Other famous jewelry of Taigakoru are the Guardian angel and the Cradle ball. There are also all kinds of Lappish animals and plants in silver. From the home page you can also order your own jewelry.

Marttiini has manufactured knives in Rovaniemi, Finland, since Janne Marttiini established the knife factory in 1928. The Marttiini product range covers knives for hunting, fishing, camping, collectors, household and professional use.

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Inspired by the ancient tales from Lapland (again). The drum at the end of the handle, made of reindeer horn bone, drives away bad spirits and protects the user. The knife is decorated with the same kind of old Lappish figures that have been used at the magical drums of Lappish shamans, as the Taigakoru uses in their production. As you can notice, these figures are the symbols for the ancient Lappish people and their culture, which manufactures these days want to share with tourists and locals, who search for the real Lappish mystique.

Some cute Lappish souvenirs are made by Peeva tuote; a small home factory for elf themes, Lapland themes and angel themes products. Each and every souvenir is special and hand made, often with material from the forests of Lapland. There are not two of the same kind! The most adorable is the doll house with elves Peeva tuote has on show near the stand on the Lordi square in Rovaniemi, where you can buy these products.

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Some interesting places in Rovaniemi to start with

Rovaniemi and its sights

A good start when you want to explore Lapland is to visit Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland. That was the way I started. After I first arrived I started strolling around along the streets in the city center, visited parks and walked along the riverside of Kemijoki. Kemijoki is the river flowing down from the northeast of Lapland and it joins together with Ounasjoki; the river that flows down to Rovaniemi from the northwest. Kemijoki river flows right through the city of Rovaniemi and the riversides of Kemijoki are often objects to happenings in Rovaniemi.

I am not going to deeper describe where Rovaniemi is and what is called Lapland in the land of Finland. I presume the information about these facts are found on other web pages. I am simply going to describe to you how to get along in Rovaniemi and other places i Lapland. I am going to tell you about my excursions and visits and the things I have been doing here. As I have lived here for about 7 years now I think I am very well capable of doing that to you.

In the center of Rovaniemi you can visit the magnificent Museum Arktikum; the Lapland history museum, which is also an Arctic Science Center. As a newcomer in Rovaniemi and Lapland you find a lot of useful information there. It is a good place to start. The history of Rovaniemi is amazing. Not the least the fact it was burned down by the Germans in the end of WW II. After visiting Arktikum you know a lot more why the city of Rovaniemi has become what it is today. In the museum there is a map of the city showing how it looked like before and after the second world war.

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The big bridge that joins the city of Rovaniemi to the east part of the city where the Ounasvaara hill is situated, is called the “Lumberjack Candle Bridge”. It symbolizes the workers who used to work hard in the forests many years ago. The light highest up on the bridge symbolizes the fire the lumberjacks used to keep to warm them up and give them light in the forest camps.

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Close to Arktikum you fin also Pilke; a center for northern forest science. Rovaniemi and Lapland have a long history with forest industries and lumber jacks. The exhibition in Pilke is really interesting, and there is something for everyone and for every age! You can even sing karaoke in there and play with small cars or pretend you are a hunter and shoot down birds and animals in the wood.

Did you know the city plan of Rovaniemi is named the “reindeer antler plan”? The famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto made the reconstruction plan for the city after it was destroyed by the Germans in 1944-45. The plan has a shape of a reindeer’s head with its horns. I do not know of any other city plan that is that interesting and exclusive!

The Art Museum of Rovaniemi you find in the Korundi house of Culture on Lapinkävijäntie 4 in the city center. In the art museum there are changing interesting exhibitions and the culture house offers all kinds of concerts and there is always some upcoming event to look forward to. Check out the event calendar on the home page of Korundi.

Rovaniemi is also called the official home town of Santa Claus. Outside the city center, along road nr 4, on the Arctic circle, on your way towards north and Ivalo, you find the Santa Claus Village. There you can visit Santa every single day during the year, get a photo together with Santa and also listen to Christmas carols and shop for Christmas decorations all the year round. During winter season you can also see reindeer there and go for reindeer and husky rides around in the village. Nearby Santa’s office is also the Santa Claus Post office, where all the letters from children all over the world arrive. The letters are sorted by the elves according to from which country they are sent and Santa himself answers the letters.

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Within walking distance from Santa Claus Village is SantaPark. The amazing amusement park down in a cave is open during winter from the end of November to the middle of January. During the summer season it is open for visitors from the end of June to the middle of August. This video from inside SantaPark shows you a little of what to expect of your visit there. Definitely worth a visit! You will get the real Christmas spirit and forget about all the other world outside the cave. The elves will take you for a fairytale trip you never will forget.

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