Why You Should Experience a Winter Christmas
Christmas time in Australia is synonymous with hot weather, BBQs and cooling off at the beach. Despite the fact that we decorate our homes with fake snowmen and icicles, the idea of actually seeing any of these things during our summer Christmas is laughable.
But there’s a reason so many Aussies choose to celebrate Christmas in July so they can embrace their festive spirit along with the colder weather. This is because there’s something authentic about a winter Christmas that likely stems from our association between Santa Claus and his home in the snowy North Pole.
From ski holidays to seeing the northern lights, we run through some of the top reasons why everybody needs to add a winter Christmas to their bucket list.
Visiting the home of Santa in Lapland, Finland
Despite the origins of the jolly man in red beginning with a 3rd century monk named St. Nicholas from Turkey who was known for his charitable nature, the modern-day Santa Claus is typically depicted living around the North Pole. Considering the geographical North Pole is located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean off the coast of Greenland, anyone over the age of 12 (hopefully) knows this isn’t actually the case.
So why is it that many children believe Santa originates from Rovaniemi, a little town located in the Finnish province of Lapland? The ‘official home of Santa Claus’ was actually a very clever initiative run by the Finnish tourism board to draw in that sweet, sweet tourism dollar. And it worked! The governor of Lapland declared the province ‘Santa Claus Land’ in 1984 and the Santa Claus Village was opened soon after.
Welcome to Santa Claus Village
What better way to spend your Christmas Holidays than visiting Santa’s village in Lapland? Visitors can enjoy a wide range of relaxing and exciting activities, including shopping, snowmobile safaris, reindeer rides and crossing the Arctic Circle, which runs directly through the village.
For those really looking to embrace the festive spirit, you can even venture beneath the earth to visit Santa’s secret cavern where Christmas runs all year round. Not exclusive to the little ones, embrace your inner child and earn your diploma at Elf School, send your Christmas mail from Santa’s own post office, explore the realm of the Ice Princess and enjoy a myriad of other winter wonderland activities.
If travelling all the way up to Lapland is a bit too far off the grid for your liking, there are plenty of other countries that offer some amazing winter Christmas activities. Swap out the reindeer for some adorable huskies and experience the thrill of dog sledding in Canada. There are multiple services that offer sledding excursions throughout gorgeous Banff National Park and Lake Louise.
There’s nothing quite like gliding across powdered snow behind a pack of powerful pups as you take in the winter wilderness of Canada’s mountains, lakes and parkland. Tours range from a casual half-hour session to full day sledding adventures.
Hot tubbing in the snow
If the thought of disrobing in freezing temperatures puts you off this idea, the rewards are well worth the brief exposure. Hot tubbing in the snow has become a part of the culture of many countries such as America and Canada and allows individuals to enjoy the best of both temperatures.
The contrast of the crisp air with the hot, bubbling water is simply electric and heightens the satisfaction, in our opinion. If you really want to embrace this activity as the locals do, jump out of the hot tub after a good soak and roll around in the snow before hopping back in the water. The rapid temperature change from hot to cold to hot again is simply thrilling. It also offers an excellent way to shock your system out of any jet lag! [link to jetlag blog]
Experiencing exotic winter cuisine
It wouldn’t be a true winter Christmas holidays unless you sampled some of the cuisine while away. Truly immerse yourself in the culture and trial some of the comfort food the locals chow down when the temperatures begin to drop.
To eat like the locals in Lapland, order yourself a traditional Finnish Salmon soup known as Lohikeitto. This delicious creamy dish is the perfect hearty meal to warm your belly during those winter nights.
Discovering the northern lights
Arguably one of the most magical natural phenomena in the world, the Aurora Borealis, or northern lights, offers a convincing reason to experience your Christmas holidays in an arctic country. Norway boldly claims to be one of the best places in the world to view the northern lights, and the stunning images are hard to argue with!
The ideal time to see the northern lights is between late September and late March when the skies of Norway are dark from early afternoon to late morning. The lights are unpredictable however, so make sure to book your stay for a few days in case you need to try your luck a second or third time.
Check-in to an ice hotel
While the name is self-explanatory, these man made creations are a marvel to behold. ICEHOTEL in the Swedish village of Jukkasjärvi claims to be the world’s first hotel made entirely from ice and has modernised over the years to offer guests the ultimate in icy hospitality.
Top ski holiday locations
For those really after a blood-pumping, snowy adventure, a ski holiday at one of the world’s best slopes is the ultimate way to spend Christmas. The top ski resorts can be found in areas such as Whistler in Canada, Courchevel in France, Lech in Austria and Aspen in the USA. Make sure you plan your ski holiday well in advance, as Christmas time is peak season and the resorts have limited spots available.
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