“I don’t allow visitors to my toy factory,” Santa lets me down gently, a few moments after forcibly removing me from his lap. “We must keep the surprise of Christmas alive. You must not know what you’re getting for Christmas.”
I’m in Lapland, of course. Ruka in Finnish Lapland to be exact, a small ski town in the Arctic Circle a few hours flight north of Helsinki with stunning views to spare.
When we got off the plane there was a stuffed reindeer awaiting us in the middle of the conveyor belt. They don’t exactly do much to disarm the stereotypes themselves here, but then again, there are as many reindeer in Lapland are there are people.
There is only one real Santa Claus though; employed year round to be the main man in Finland, and you can visit him around the country. I thank him for that Fisher Price pirate ship my parents have been taking credit for since I was six and question him on the logistics of getting to each home in the world in one night.