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Visit Santa at his home in Rovaneimi, Finland

My kid thinks I'm an elf. And not just any elf. One of Santa's ELVES.

courtesy Nico Amatullo, Unsplash
The Arctic Circle at Santa Claus Village, Finland

I'm not entirely certain how it started, but it might have had something to do with a dinnertable conversation when she was three when she asked me straight up if I was one of Santa's elves, and instead of saying "no," I winked and pressed a finger to my lips and said "shhhhhhh."

She is now almost eight, and with that ebbing of young childhood and a growth of logic comes difficult questions. Just how do I communicate with Santa? I don't look like an elf - do I morph into one at Christmas? What toys am I specifically in charge of? Who is my favorite reindeer?

Whenever she's in a mood for proof, I pull up photos from Santa Claus Village, located just outside Rovaneimi, the capital of Lapland.

Not only is Rovaneimi the official home of Santa Claus, it is also located directly on the Arctic Circle, crossing off a bucket list item for many adventurous travelers.

At the village itself you can meet reindeer, Santa's other animals, go dogsledding, snowmobiling, and a host of other winter-centered activities.

courtesy Marc Wieland, Unsplash
Northern Lights. Rovaneimi, Finland

Due to its location Rovaneimi is a great spot to see the Northern Lights, which never fails to inspire wonder in even the most Scroogey of wanderers. We suggest staying in one of the many snow hotels or glass igloos in the area for optimal Northern Lights viewing! And no trip to Lapland is complete without trying an authentic dish of reindeer (I'm so sorry, Rudolph) .

Despite the remote location, Lapland is surprisingly accessible by air, with direct flights operating from many European cities or rail from Helsinki.

It's never too early to start thinking of winter travel plans for 2023!

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