On Location: 5 Minutes With Father Christmas
Thomson’s blog editor travelled to Finnish Lapland to find out what Santa gets up to on Christmas Day. Here’s what he had to say…
It’s not every day you find yourself north of the Arctic Circle, trussed up in a snow suit, knocking on Santa’s door. But that’s exactly what happened when I tracked the big man down in Lapland, hoping to catch him during what must be one of his busiest periods – the week before Christmas.
I was stood outside his log cabin at Santa’s Resort – a snow-covered winter wonderland in Saariselka, which is one of Lapland’s most northerly resorts. It’s an understatement to say it’s cold here in December. Temperatures range from -6 to -30, so I hoped he wouldn’t keep me waiting long.
Luckily for me, the chunky wooden door swung open and I spotted that tell-tale white beard and velvety red coat. Santa was home and open to visitors. So I stepped inside, pulled up a chair and asked him what he gets up to once Christmas Eve is out of the way…
5 Minutes With Father Christmas
Thanks for taking 5 minutes out of your day to talk to me, Santa. The first thing I wanted to know is: what do you do on Christmas Day, once all the presents have been delivered?
Well, I come back to Finland with Rudolph and the other reindeer, have a little sleep – it’s hard work delivering all those presents, after all – and then start preparing for next Christmas that very same day. Because if there’s one thing I know, it’s that as soon as children have opened this year’s presents they’ve started thinking about what they want next…
You must do something to relax for the rest of the year though…
Sometimes I go fishing, but most of the time I’m training the new elves that come and join me each year.
That doesn’t sound very relaxing. Where do you go on holiday?
Holiday? What’s a holiday? I see every single country around the world while I’m delivering presents at Christmas, so I’m happy to stay back home in Finland for the rest of the year!
Okay, so we’ve established that you don’t do much relaxing. What’s your favourite thing to eat?
In English it would be called ‘white porridge’ – Mrs Claus makes it the best. Sometimes I add almonds, sometimes a little bit of sugar and cinnamon, and of course hot milk. It’s delicious.
Do you wear your Santa suit to bed?
That’s a secret.
Do you trim your beard? It’s very long…
Of course. I have a special barber elf who does it – I think he does it while I’m asleep because I wake up and it’s all neat and tidy…
How do reindeer fly?
That’s also a secret. If I told you, somebody might try to copy.
Okay. Which reindeer is the naughtiest?
Rudolph of course. As you can see, he’s not here at the moment – he’s off doing his own thing. As soon as he sees it getting busy he goes off and hides in the forest. But then, he gets special treatment because he’s been working with me for so many years.
What’s the biggest present you’ve ever been asked for?
A big castle in Saudi Arabia. It was really difficult to carry… I think the letter must have been from a little princess over there.
How on earth do you get a castle down a chimney?
That’s another secret. You’re asking too many questions!
Fair enough. Do you ever get a sore knee from children sitting on it?
No – it’s all about the way you sit. I have mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers sitting on my knee, too…
That’s a lot of people on one knee.
It is – many of the parents were too shy to sit on Santa’s knee when they were little but they’ll do it now, to show their children. So I end up with the whole family on my knee.
Right Santa, it’s time for your quick-fire round. You have to choose one of the following options:
Tea or coffee? Hot chocolate. With cream.
Er, that’s not really how it works. We’ll try again… snow or sunshine? Snow.
That’s better! A lie-in or a late night? Both – I like to see the sunrise but I also like to see the stars.
Um, okay… peanut butter or jam? Jam. In summer the elves collect berries from the forest and make jams, so we have some to last all the way through the winter.
Dogs or cats? Both – I love all animals.
A good book or a good film? A good book, please.