This year, my family spent the Christmas holidays in Lapland, along with 30 or so other Felin's...
It takes a lot of planning to get such a large group of people together in the middle of the Arctic Circle, so I've been
looking forward to dreading this Christmas for a good two years or so. I tried to keep my expectations low beforehand, which worked because as soon as we arrived in Lappi I knew they would easily be exceeded. We were welcomed by a little reunion of my whole family (and a stunning cabin on the mountain) after a somewhat painful 2-day car journey from Helsinki to Pyhä.
My daily routine for the week was usually comprised of skiing in the morning, sometimes followed by a quick gym session at the nearby hotel and then dinner. After 6:00 we were allowed to go sledding on the nearby ski slopes, and then we would usually head to sauna afterwards. After the kids were in bed, we played card games "Felin style"... Which let's just say involves a lot of shouting and you have to use your elbows if you want to survive.
We tried to take advantage of the two hours of "daylight" (the sun just sort of swerves along the horizon) we got each day... On the 23rd, we drove to a reindeer park where we got to feed the reindeer and I even caught a glimpse of Santa Claus walking into the woods.
Finns primarily celebrate Christmas Eve, which is also the day that I opened a few gifts and stuffed myself until I couldn't move before
playing winning card games until 3 AM. I awoke the next morning around 11:30 to a white Christmas as fresh snow fell during sunrise.
When the sky was clear, I stayed up long enough to go out on midnight excursions with my dad, "hunting" the Northern Lights. We drove away from Pyhä to the darkest places we could find, and only when the car lights were off and we stepped out into the frozen night could we see the stunning Aurora Borealis.
One of the most surreal experiences in Lappi was the husky ride I took with my sisters and a few cousins. I decided to bundle up in the sled whilst my uncle steered and the huskies pulled us along through the snowy woods.
On the drive home, we explored the area that my grandfather grew up in, Sotkamo. And by "explored," I mean that I looked out the window of our warm car whilst my dad got out from time to time to take a photo.
Hope you had an amazing Christmas as well!