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Last Friday I got to experience one of my husband’s life dreams come true. I got to witness Gregory meeting Santa Claus for the first time. A day he described as “the best day ever, after August 10, 2013” (our wedding day).
Don’t believe all those stories, movies, songs, etc. Santa Claus does not live at the North Pole. Santa Claus actually lives just north of the Arctic Circle outside of Rovaniemi, Finland, where we’ve been staying with a couple of friends this week.
Our friends actually work at Snowman World in Santa Claus Village (can you imagine?) and were kind enough to take us to work with them so that we could explore on our own. Naturally we went straight to Santa’s office, but as we stood outside the door ready to go in both of us lost our nerve and we had to go walk around a bit outside to calm ourselves. Obviously I was already in tears. Once we worked up the courage we went back inside and joined a line of maybe forty people waiting to meet Santa. After nearly an hour next to a giant pendulum counting down the minutes until Christmas we were ushered in by an elf and laid eyes on Santa for the first time.
He was everything we’d ever imagined about a Finnish Santa (vs. the U.S. mall Santas) to be- loooooong beard, kind words, soothing voice. Seriously, he had the nicest voice of anyone I’ve ever spoken to. We sat next to him and introduced ourselves (as if he didn’t already know) and surprised him with Cake, who he knew well and shared some whispers with. I overheard “…just a few more weeks…” I’m sure he was really thinking to himself “Why are these full-grown adults traveling with this elf and pretending he’s real?” I think I’m getting as obsessed with Cake as Greg is- he’s just so cute and happy! After a short conversation with the big man himself, we were ushered out a different door and forced to join the real world again, where they lovingly price-gouged us for an authentic Santa picture. Oooooph- it still hurts.
At Santa Claus Village, in addition to numerous souvenir shops, a post office, and a few casual restaurants, they also offer snowmobile rides, sleigh rides, and dog sleds, none of which we partook of, only admired from afar. We visited with the dogs for awhile, but were disappointed Jeff friggin’ King wasn’t around to show us a demo.
We could only handle so much excitement before we had to go home and nap before the big arrival of three new snowmen to Snowman World from the North Pole. Snowmen live at the North Pole, Santa lives at the Arctic Circle. Keep that straight.
The snowmen made a grand entrance and even Santa Claus showed up! It was so cute- Greg and I were both genuinely like “I didn’t know he was going to be here!” It was like seeing an old friend. Snowmen don’t talk of course, but a man? An elf? told their story. It was all in Finnish so I only caught the gist of it. Oh wait… no I didn’t. Roll an R for about five seconds and that’s an average Finnish word. And they all talk so fast! Luckily the Finns are kind and understanding, and speak English for us lay-people. Kristina actually summed up their story for us- Snowmen are threatened at the North Pole because of global warming and they came to appeal to all the children to change their wasteful, warming ways in order to save Snowmankind. If you don’t believe Earth has been warming at an unusual rate due to man you’re a complete Munson and I’m telling Santa and the snowmen on you. Be kind to our precious mother Earth- she works so hard for us and she’s utterly amazing.
Sure, Santa Claus Village was more than a bit touristy, but we loved it and I’m sure we’ll go back before this trip is over. As I’m sure we’ll take our future babies there one day, as I’m also sure they’ll love Christmas as much as their papa. Just a few more weeks!
And just for your viewing pleasure: