Is the official home of Father Christmas in Finland?
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As with every country having their version and different names for Father Christmas, there is a debate on where Father Christmas lives. Norwegians believe his home is in Drobak, the Danish believe it’s Greenland, for USA and Canada it’s the North Pole, whilst Brits and Finns consider Lapland as his home. But which one is it?
The capital city of Finnish Lapland, Rovaniemi, is a self-declared official hometown of the jolly man and with over half a million letters from children around the world being sent to Santa’s Post Office in Lapland, it seems logical right?
Opening in 1985 and situated just outside of the capital city, is where the year round ‘Santa Claus Village’ is located and where Santa receives over 500,000 visitors a year! You can send a letter or postcard to ‘Santa Claus’ main post office, Tähtikuja 1, 96930 Rovaniemi, Finland’ and your reply from the man himself will have a special Arctic Circle postmark stamp which is not available anywhere else.
But where did the story of Father Christmas’s home originate from?
Santa Claus Village, Rovaniemi
The history behind the home
Claims of Father Christmas’ home in Lapland first came about in 1927 when the Finnish radio broadcaster, Markus Rautio or “Uncle Markus” declared on air that Father Christmas’ workshop had been revealed in Lapland’s Korvatunturi. From this point, the notion of the festive fellow living in Finland came to public attention. Finland does seem like a more rational location for his home as there isn’t anything for his reindeers to graze on in the North Pole and there are said to be more of them than humans in Lapland. Seems like the ideal place for Santa’s reindeers!
Later on in the twentieth century, the capital of Lapland was established as the home of Father Christmas over Korvatunturi which was thought to be a premeditated decision on a business level. Lapland’s capital and surrounding area during the Second World War was the scene of destruction – destroyed by retreating German troops, bombed by Russians and captured by Nazis. After the war, there were plans for reconstruction with tourism as the main focus.
The capital received funding from the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, but it wasn’t until 1984 when Lapland was marketed as Santa’s official home and embracing its festive legend as a result of the Finnish tourism board piling pressure to boost its visitor numbers.
In December that year the governor of Lapland, Asko Oinas professed the province of ‘Santa Claus Lapland’ and Santa Claus Village opened to the public in the following year of 1985. It captured the essence of festive spirit in a true winter wonderland complete with Santa’s Post Office in which a special ‘Arctic Circle’ postmark is stamped on every letter Santa sends.
In December 2017, Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture approved the Joulupukki, the Yule Goat and Finnish Santa Claus tradition to be part of the National Inventory of Living Heritage. This is a list supported by the National Board of Antiquities, part of the Unesco convention for the safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. In other words, this greatly strengthened Finland’s position as a country where Santa Claus lives.
Want to take your loved ones and visit Santa in his hometown? View our Lapland Santa breaks or call us and speak to a ski expert for advice and recommendations on your next Lapland trip.