I’ve always had a soft spot for Scandinavian countries (sorry to ‘lump’ them altogether). The people, the places and the culture are quite different from anything else you’ll find anywhere else and I’m not just talking about Scandi crime thrillers either. Last week I was lucky enough to go to Rovaniemi situated right on the Arctic circle in Finland on the assignment for the New York Times where I got to meet the big man himself – Father Christmas.

Shot on the impressive Samsung Gear 360° camera, this 360° video takes you through The Santa Village in Rovaniemi and into Santa’s Grotto to see the real Santa Clause at work. Then it’s onto Santa’s mailroom to see all of the real letters coming in from Children all across the world. You can see this 360° video below:

Yes, he has to be the busiest person on the planet right now but he took time out of his punishing schedule to offer me some words of wisdom. As you can see he didn’t let me off lightly.


I may be the wrong side of 50 now but when I went into his grotto there was a fleeting moment when I felt like a six year old boy once again.I confessed to Salla, my minder from ‘Visit Rovaniemi’, that I felt a little emotional after visiting him. She smiled and replied it was normal.

Looking at the large gallery of world leaders photos smiling down at me from the wall in Father Christmas workshop I indeed saw that I was not alone in being touched by meeting the great man himself.

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