By Melissa Sorge
—Premier trip planner Niquesa Travel designed a magical excursion for families to experience the wonder of Finnish Lapland during the holiday season.
Perhaps the only greater feeling than the warmth we experience remembering the holidays of our childhood is the excitement and wonder of watching our children encounter the holiday magic themselves. As the weather turns colder each year, the anticipation builds—particularly in households with young children. They remind us of the very instant it is appropriate to bring out the holiday decorations, shouting encouragements for copious amounts of lights and decor. Brimming with excitement, they begin creating lists for Santa, lists for their parents—all filled with requests for toys, bikes, games, and even visits with Father Christmas himself. And while we want to fulfill all of our children’s holiday dreams and requests, it is often easier to create memories locally than to venture out and experience the holidays somewhere more exotic.
Traveling with young children can be difficult, and during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it may even seem impossible. The fear of packing suitcases full of diapers and lugging heavy strollers in and out of taxis and airports is enough to make many new parents forgo the wanderlust of their past lives and settle for some neighborhood caroling and a visit with Santa Claus at the local mall. Aware of all of the concerns and inhibitions of parents with young children, Mark Allvey, managing director of Niquesa Travel, curated a holiday excursion tailored specifically to these families. “Keeping the Magic Alive,” a three-night adventure in Lapland, was designed to take the stress out of traveling so families can venture out and experience the magic of the holidays together.
“Over 60 percent of our trips are arranged for families—many with young children,” Allvey attests. “The key to a successful holiday is preparation, planning, and making sure that parents get their own time as well as family time. In terms of preparation, we are fortunate to offer a service which goes beyond the holiday itself. We can arrange for limo pick-up from home, fast track through an airport, nannies to accompany the trip or to greet upon arrival at a destination, and arrange for baby/child supplies to be waiting in the hotel room. We will always ensure that our villas or hotels are ‘child safe’ so parents can relax more, and that the venues we recommend have well-respected kids and teen clubs.”
With Niquesa Travel attending to the long checklist that often deters parents from bringing their young children along on trips, parents will feel confident embarking on a family adventure during the holiday season. With the travel arrangements taken care of, supplies and babysitting arranged, and safety guaranteed, parents with young children will look forward to their vacation rather than stressing about the details.
While Niquesa Travel curates trips for families, couples, and friends to visit a wide variety of destinations around the world, “Keeping the Magic Alive” is unique in its ability to capture the enchanting magic of the Christmas season. Set in a subarctic climate, home to Father Christmas and the Northern Lights, the Lapland Christmas excursion is a once-in-a-lifetime experience families will treasure for years to come. When we asked Allvey how he envisioned this whimsical idea for a family trip, he explained that he and his team were dissatisfied with previous excursions to Lapland; other supposedly well-designed trips were simply unauthentic, and Niquesa Travel knew they could do better.
“When we first launched Niquesa Travel one of our directors had previously taken his family to see Santa in Lapland and came back quite uninspired,” Allvey explains. “He felt it was too manufactured and that he was ‘just part of the crowd’. We believed we could create a Lapland Santa Claus trip that was as magical and enchanting for adults just as much as the children and that the excitement and anticipation should begin well before departure. We wanted to include other more obvious magical family moments such as visiting a husky farm and reindeer sledding, but we would also include our trademark of doing things differently. We sourced unknown log cabins, beautiful spots near frozen lakes for al fresco dining around a fire, the chance to see the Northern Lights with an astronomer, and an ultimate visit to Santa at his cabin in a clearing in the woods. The most important factor was to plan these trips as independent from the crowds so our clients felt the freedom, peace, and isolation that Lapland deserves.”
Thanks to Allvey and his team, “Keeping the Magic Alive” affords families an authentic Lappish experience minus the crowds and tourist traps that the holiday season often brings. Niquesa Travel extensively researches destinations before curating trips and personally visits these exclusive locations to scour the best local sites and restaurants and take travelers beyond what they might find searching trip recommendations online or taking tips from friends. Let us take a closer look at the itinerary for “Keeping the Magic Alive,” an unforgettable journey into the heart of Christmas.
Several weeks before your trip to Lapland, a special package will arrive in the mail. Your children will be delighted to open the mysterious box and find an Elf on the Shelf just for them. In the weeks before the trip, your family can begin the Elf’s tradition of magically moving to a different location in the house each night and watching over the children. Little ones will be on their best behavior knowing that the Elf is watching them each night leading up to the trip! Additionally, families will receive a personal invitation from Father Christmas, informing the children a little bit about the trip and their upcoming visit to Lapland. A final surprise before departure is a mystery box filled with clues about the upcoming adventure to the arctic. Your children will be brimming with excitement as they try to decipher clues and take guesses as to what their magical trip has in store for them.
The time for your trip has finally arrived, and you prepare to touch down for day one of your family holiday adventure. You will arrive in Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland, and what is often considered the “original” home of Father Christmas himself. At the airport, a representative from Niquesa Travel will meet you and your family and escort you to your chauffeur, who will usher you to your cabin. As your children enter their home for the next few days, they will shriek with excitement noticing that the Elf on the Shelf has followed them here! The sneaky Elf, along with some mysterious footprints outside the cabin, will light a fire in your children’s imaginations as they piece together the mysteries awaiting them. Shortly after arrival, your entire family can sit back and relax as a personal chef prepares your first Finnish meal. The remainder of the first day involves a visit from one of Father Christmas’ elves, a family baking class, and a cozy night around the fire with warm drinks and clear views of the brightly-lit arctic sky.
Day two of your adventure brings more exciting clues for the kids from Father Christmas (this time delivered by the chef at breakfast!). Later in the day your family will visit a husky farm and work together to wrangle the loose dogs in the field. Next up is a husky-driven sleigh ride through the subarctic forest scattered with snow-capped Christmas trees. After a warm, fireside lunch, drop the kids off with an Elf babysitter and try out the snowmobiles and toboggans. If you enjoy fishing, use this kid-free time for ice fishing and bring your catch back to your cabin to learn how to prepare a traditional Lappish fish dinner. The day finishes with a family visit to Santa’s Post Office. Watch your little ones’ faces light up with excitement as they help the elves sort mail and presents in preparation for Christmas Day.
On day three—it’s the moment your children have been waiting for! Magical clues will begin at breakfast, and shortly after a car will arrive to escort your entire family to a reindeer-drawn sleigh ride. The children will keep an eye out for elves and lost presents, and you will watch in amazement as their excitement to meet Father Christmas builds. When you arrive at his log cabin, the scent of fir and a crackling fire will beckon you all inside. Your children’s eyes will widen as Father Christmas opens the door and invites you inside for hot chocolate and stories of his Christmas journeys. As you head back to the cabin for your last meal in Lapland, your hearts will be full of the magic of Christmas and imprinted with memories that will last a lifetime.
Take in one last Lappish breakfast as you prepare to embark on your journey home. The elves will visit the children one last time as your driver arrives to chauffeur your family back to Rovaniemi Airport. Your family will depart Finland with the magic of Lapland in your hearts, and from now on, the holidays will always be just a little more magical. Father Christmas, his clever elves, and the arctic wonder that is Finnish Lapland will not soon be forgotten.
*For more information please visit NiquesaTravel.com