With Christmas just around the corner and having attended a wonderful Christmas In July with The White Company and a fabulous Christmas event at Betty’s in Harrogate just last week (blog post to follow) it’s got me to thinking about this coming Christmas which is in just 39 sleeps! and will be Tiggy’s second Christmas.
If you’ve read the blog post Blenheim Palace you’ll know that the Christmas I was pregnant with Tiggy I was critically unwell and pretty much missed Christmas so last year, Tiggy’s first Christmas, we thought we’d make it a little more special, especially for her brothers who are all at that magical stage and “believe” so we went to Lapland.
Tiggy was just 5 months old and everyone questioned whether we were wise to take her but I figured Finland (where of course Lapland is located) has babies too and so long as Tiggy was properly dressed against the elements she’d be just fine.
I did my homework as to clothing and bought Tiggy thermal Merino underwear, base and mid layers, thermal socks, and of course a fully lined snow suit plus a micro fleece for her to wear on top of all the layers under the snowsuit. I bought Tiggy’s items from Columbia and chose the Foxy Baby™ II Bunting – Infant in Plum and Snuggly Bunny™ Bunting – Infant in Bright Plum I also bought her a fleece lined hat and mittens to match. There are of course many companies out there to choose from but I went with Columbia as I could buy directly from them so no increased costs and I loved the plum colour.
Our trip was booked via Thomson and as part of our package they provided clothing (external only such as snowsuit and boots) for everyone over the age of 4 as that’s the minimum age they recommend you take children so we also bought Tiggy’s brother William’s clothing and snow boots from Columbia too as he was just 3 years old. We bought thermals, base and mid layers and thermal socks, hats and gloves for each of us to take with us.
Our flight with Thomson was made quite magical and very Christmassy by the elves (air stewards) on board, lots of Christmas carols and Christmas entertainment packs to keep the little ones occupied and so our flight was a pleasant one, even with four small children. Upon arriving at Rovaniemi in Finland, “the official home airport of Santa Claus”, we were taken to a warehouse to be kitted out and found that they did provide woollen hats, scarves, socks and indeed mittens for all of us (excluding Tiggy) but it was so cold I was glad we took our own thermal and fleece lined and even bought thermal neck gaitors so we were toasty warm! What I didn’t expect was that they did in fact kit out William too!
My top tip in respect of the clothing is to ensure you are layered up. It’s cold, incredibly cold, especially at night and we did a couple of the night excursions and were most grateful for the warm layers. Whilst we ensured Tiggy was layered to within in an inch of her life, as she was so small the tour company wouldn’t allow her to do the “night safari” to see the Northern Lights as it involved literally going across country to the middle of nowhere out into the open and it was bitterly cold, definitely a reason to return when Tiggy’s a little older!
We did however do the “Elf Adventure” where we ventured into the forest with Santa’s elves, made Christmas decorations with Mrs Claus, had dinner there, cut down a small Christmas tree and decorated it with the elves, rode snow mobiles, Finlay tried skiing, the boys enjoyed sledging and we even saw the Northern Lights albeit I was unable to get a clear picture, happy just to stand and watch how pretty they were and another “bucket list” item ticked off.
Despite layering Tiggy we found that her feet were freezing from sitting in her pram or being held by us and so we even placed a pair of my thermal socks over her thermal ones and fur lined boots and were kindly given a hand warming pad, the type you heat in a microwave to place between the layers over her feet to keep them toasty warm (thankfully in our hotel family suite we had a kitchen and a microwave and even our own sauna, perfect for warming up in after a day in the snow!). I only wish I’d taken some with me and no doubt when we go again when Tiggy older so that she too can appreciate the magic of Lapland, I’ll be taking a packet or two of these for sure as they were great for warming the little one’s hands too!
We took Tiggy’s brother’s Phil & Teds pram with us as I didn’t want to damage her new Bugaboo Cameleon and had no problem whatsoever transporting it or using it whilst there, even in the snow, and I would definitely recommend taking a pram for your little one as it allowed Tiggy to sleep when we were out and about. We were of course the only ones there with a pram as Tiggy was by far the youngest there and we were told the youngest they had ever had there, with our tour operator at least, but found it was no trouble at all to have with us.
We stayed at the Santa Sport hotel in Rovaniemi and it was ideally located with just a short walk to local amenities should you choose to venture out for a walk or take a sledge as we did, and there was plenty there to occupy small children at our hotel with a soft play area and even it’s own bowling alley! It was possible to walk to the town itself although it was so cold we caught a taxi back!
One thing to be aware of is that the excursions are not included in your package so whilst you have “taster sessions” of various activities such as husky rides and reindeer sleigh rides, to do them properly costs extra, quite a bit extra especially if you’re a large family so be prepared.
We were only there for four days and there are activities laid on which are included such as dinner on the last night with Santa Claus and a day trip to the Santa village and the Santa Park where you can graduate from Elf School and decorate gingerbread, all of which we thoroughly enjoyed, even crossing into the Arctic Circle both above and below ground, many times as it turned out and most exciting to know we had done that. We were even given certificates to keep and of course took plenty of photographs.
I think Tiggy being so small was certainly of fascination to everyone there and Tiggy attracted quite a bit of attention and was made a huge fuss of (pretty much as she is here being the youngest of four and the only girl).
Our last night saw us take dinner with Santa Claus and the experience was truly magical. I was a little overcome with emotion seeing the awe and wonder on the faces of Tiggy’s brothers as Santa and his reindeer appeared as if by magic through the trees with plenty of fireworks and if you’ve any thoughts on going or worries about taking such little ones, my advice would be not to worry and go. It was the stuff of wonderful memories xoxo