Our Magical Visit To Lapland! Guest Post

Our Visit To Finnish Lapland! Guest Post by Debbie Straughton for the International Elf Service

For anyone considering a magical trip to Lapland this Christmas, this wonderful guest post from Debbie will really get you excited!

***

Ever since I was a little girl I have loved everything to do with Christmas. Getting older has not quelled the excitement in me with the run up to the big day and so it’s no surprise that both of my boys are also a little bit Christmas obsessed. This family’s over enthusiasm meant it was only natural that I was desperate to take them to Lapland as soon as they were old enough.

Last January, after spending days scouring brochures we finally took the plunge and booked with Inghams for 4 nights in Yllas, Finland. After finally booking, we just had to keep it from the boys and come up with an inventive way to surprise them with the news that they were going to visit Santa. This is where Emily from International Elf Service came into action and gave us the most wonderful way to surprise them. The boys had both enjoyed Elfie’s letters at Christmas and talked about how excited they were about hearing from Elfie again. Emily came up with a very special letter from Elfie, one which invited my two very lucky boys to Lapland. The night before we were due to travel, the letter was sat waiting for them in front of the fireplace and I had two over excited boys on my hands when they realised where we were going.

Bright and early the next morning we arrived at the airport and took our Jet2 flight to Finland. As we approached our destination, we watched as the landscape turned to white. With the air hostesses and passengers on the plane singing Christmas songs the atmosphere was fantastic. We landed on a snowy runway and as we disembarked the children were all throwing snowballs before we even got into the terminal.

Our Visit To Finnish Lapland! Guest Post by Debbie Straughton for the International Elf Service

From the second you get to Lapland everything just seems so magical. The sun barely came up and then it was gone again. It was really weird it being dark all the time. The scenery is just amazing with snow as far as the eye can see. Even though it was starting to get dark by the time we arrived we couldn’t resist going straight out to make snow angels, indulge in some sledging and dive into the deep snow (a little warning: while it may look like fun to dive into a 6ft high snow drift, trying to get out is not as easy as you might think!).

Our Visit To Finnish Lapland! Guest Post by Debbie Straughton for the International Elf Service

As part of our holiday package, on our first day we had a pre-planned excursion to visit the man himself at his workshop. As we arrived, the excitement of the boys was barely contained. We pulled up to a village decked with fairy lights, it was stunning. We were given a time to see Santa and while we were waiting we went off to explore. We had photos taken with a reindeer, went sledging and took a snowmobile ride out to a cabin in the woods where we fire roasted sausages and marshmallows to eat.

Our Visit To Finnish Lapland! Guest Post by Debbie Straughton for the International Elf Service

Our Visit To Finnish Lapland! Guest Post by Debbie Straughton for the International Elf Service

Our visit with Santa was amazing. Seb was so excited to finally get to meet the real Santa and Cole was caught up in his brother’s excitement. The boys both rhymed off their Christmas wish lists, swimming goggles for Seb and a Lego train for Cole. Santa did look a bit perplexed about the swimming goggles. After saying our goodbyes the boys decided they wanted to bake gingerbread cookies with the elves, which were delicious.

Our Visit To Finnish Lapland! Guest Post by Debbie Straughton for the International Elf Service

The sun barely came up and then it was gone again. It was really weird it being dark all the time.

On our second day we had booked two extra excursions, one of which was the one I was most looking forward to – a half day visit to ride reindeer and husky sleds. We arrived at the husky farm and followed candle lit paths to find the husky huts. We were shown to a husky sled and I got to cuddle in with the boys under a blanket all nice and warm while Daddy did the hard work of riding the sled and steering. The husky ride was short but for two young boys it was probably long enough (anything where you’re going fast makes your face freeze which isn’t so bad for an adult but can be hard to cope with for a small child).

Our Visit To Finnish Lapland! Guest Post by Debbie Straughton for the International Elf Service

After petting the husky puppies and sipping some hot juice to warm us up we moved to the reindeer farm. Here we got to ride in twos in a sled pulled by a reindeer. I snuggled under a blanket with my biggest boy while he sang jingle bells the whole way round the forest. The atmosphere was magical, surrounded in the forest by reindeer, with children dropping into the deep snow and making snow angels.

debbie lapland sledge with reindeer
Our second excursion of the day was to the Ice Hotel. This was a sight to behold. The rooms with themes carved in to the ice are exquisite and were being finished off ready for guests as we were visiting. While it was beautiful I wasn’t envious that we weren’t staying there, it was freezing and I like my warmth!

Our Visit To Finnish Lapland! Guest Post by Debbie Straughton for the International Elf Service

Our final full day we booked a snowmobile excursion. We rode on a snowmobile and the children being too young were pulled in a sled behind one of the organisers all snuggled under a blanket. It took a bit of getting used to riding on the snowmobile. We were going so fast through the forest and I have to admit it was a bit scary (especially when we accidentally came off road!). This was the first day it actually snowed and the snow was coming thick and fast as we were whizzing through the trees to the top of the mountain. We made a stop at the top to thaw out in front of a camp fire in a cabin while snacking on ginger biscuits and warm juice.

Our Visit To Finnish Lapland! Guest Post by Debbie Straughton for the International Elf Service

The ride back down the mountain was faster than the way up. If you ever do this excursion make sure you pack balaclavas and neck gaiters, it is freezing at the top and gets colder the faster you go.

Our Visit To Finnish Lapland! Guest Post by Debbie Straughton for the International Elf Service

The gala dinner on our last evening was held in the hotel and all the families that we’d been meeting up with during the week were there, so the boys got to play with their friends one last time. We had a traditional Christmas dinner while singing Christmas songs. The Tour Operator staff spent time doing games with the children and entertaining them. After dinner an extra special guest was announced and Santa arrived to surprise the children. Each family got to meet Santa again and each child was given a gift to remember Lapland by.

The next morning we were picked up for our trip back to the airport. Seb cried before the bus arrived, he’d had the most amazing time and didn’t want to leave. I have to admit I almost wanted to join him in the tears. The whole trip was so full of Christmas magic, I’ve wanted to do this for years and it not only lived up to all of my expectations but exceeded them. I know it’s meant to be for kids, but as an adult you almost come away believing yourself.

  • My Tips:
    Don’t rush to go. If you’re only going to do it once make sure your children are old enough to enjoy it and remember it. In hindsight we probably should have waited another year, Cole was only 3 and I think a year older he would have got a lot more out of it.
  • Take lots of warm clothes, thermals are essential! The suits they give you are excellent but you need some good warm clothes to go under them. Decent gloves and hats are also needed.
  • Buy sledges (or hopefully find someone has left some behind at your cabin!). Small children find it exhausting walking in the snow, pulling them around is much easier.
  • Do all the excursions you can. They’re too good to miss!
  • If you’re taking GoPros or cameras take extra batteries. The cold drains the batteries so we found that sometimes the batteries were dying after only 10-20 minutes of use.

*It cost just less than £3000 for 4 of us with the reindeer/husky excursion and half board.

Debbie Straughton is a Christmas obsessed mum to Sebastian, aged 6 and Cole aged 4, and lives in Manchester.

***

Invitation to Lapland

Personalised Invitation to Lapland from the International Elf Service. On 100% recycled paper and hand-drawn illustrations.



Invitation to Lapland with handrawn illustrations and real splodges - from the International Elf Service

***

Sign up for the International Elf Service Magical Newsletter

Get Them Reading!

Magical Christmas Elf & Fairy Letter Bundles
… To Enjoy As A Family

Sign up for the International Elf Service Magical Newsletter

To receive our Magical Newsletter

PLUS

Two FREE Guides:

Family Advent Activities & Ways to Make Christmas Eve More Magical!


Ways To Make Christmas Eve More Magical! A Guide by the International Elf Service

The International Elf Service specialises in beautiful handcrafted, personalised letters from magical places … the North Pole and Fairyland. Designed to encourage children to read, while developing and preserving their love of all things magical.

‘Very Helpful’ Fairy & Tooth Fairy Letters

The International Elf Service delivers magical Fairy & Tooth Fairy Letters, designed to support Children's Emotional Health and Development

Try our amazingly unique and magical Family Christmas Tradition of Christmas Letter Bundles from the North Pole. Elf letters filled with secrets and snippets from the North Pole, for you to deliver very mysteriously on the Elves behalf … for your children to find.

Elfie’s Christmas LettersVideo is the Christmas 2019 Edition


***

*You don’t need an Elf or a Fairy Door to enjoy these letters. Pop magical letter by their toothbrush, in their shoes, stashed away with the rest of the mail – have fun!

Not sure? You can try these one-off letters that can be delivered any time of the year. Here and here!

A sneaky listen to our Advent Calendar Christmas letter bundle from Christmas 2018 … *The Christmas Letter Bundles Are Brand New Each Year!

order-now-button

Hide them among the bills and junk mail, lay them on the table first thing in the morning, stashed among the toys, or snuggled up in their bed. You choose where your children find the letters, to create a magical family tradition the kids will love!

 

“The best Christmas idea ever.” – Charlie Condou (Actor)

***

“These were the best things I have ever (and I mean ever) ordered!!
I’ve never seen the magic or happiness last so long x”

– Jolene (August 2017)

order-now-button

Come and join us on Facebook, or find us over on Christmas Traditions & Magic For Children for all year round festive chat.

Emily x

2 comments

  • Diane
    May 15, 2017 AT 9:02 AM

    I really want to take wee man (and myself) to Lapland this year. I keep looking weekly to see if tickets are on sale yet, the determination is like trying to find that must have christmas present your child desperately begged for the whole year! Lol

    • International Elf Service
      May 15, 2017 AT 12:36 PM

      Oh yes, do go! The good thing is they won’t sell out if you’re keeping an eye out now! I’d love to hear how you get on and what he thinks of it all 🙂

leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

X
x
x