Day 11: Santa Claus Village

By: JosepTomàs Porres; Kara Woods; Jessica ferris

Our 11th day in Lapland, Finland was an incredible day. We visited the Santa Claus Village (which straddles the line of the Arctic Circle), listened to lectures about reindeer herding and tourism in the region, and finished the day at a traditional Finnish Sauna. The day started with Kirsi Muuttoranta’s presentation on reindeer herding as a livelihood and talked about her experiences as a female reindeer herder and the trends and challenges reindeer herders face in Nordic regions today.

This provided lots of new information and knowledge for us to consider as reindeer herding is not common in the U.S.A., Canada, or Spain. We learned many interesting aspects of reindeer herding and production including slaughtering seasons and trends in modernization of herding practices. We found it particularly interesting that there are no wild reindeer in Lapland, in contrast to Southern Finland where there are many wild reindeer. Interestingly, there is a direct sales market for reindeer as well, where reindeer can be sold to consumers directly from the farm. Following Kirsi’s presentation, Laura Ylinampa discussed tourism at the Santa Claus Village and how they are exploring new opportunities like the construction of Mrs. Claus’ house to expand the business. After our lectures we were treated to a traditional Finnish meal of sautéed reindeer, mashed potatoes and lingonberries.

After lunch we went to meet Santa, and this was when the magic happened. Meeting Santa truly transported us back to our childhood dreams of meeting Santa and his reindeer. While we took a picture as a group with Santa gave his usual advice to be good this year.

After our group picture we headed to Santa’s Post Office where over 500,000 letters to Santa are received each year.

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We were also able to send postcards and letters that could be either sent today or postponed to be sent on Christmas Day. Souvenir shopping ended our day at Santa Claus Village, followed by dinner and the Sauna, which we all agreed was incredibly hot.After the sauna we headed back to campus, where we got straight to work on our group projects as presentations are tomorrow!