Fre 14 jun / År 42 / Nr 1 2024

Meet the Real Santa Claus in Pajala

Pajala is home to one of the world’s most famous and loved heroes – Santa Claus. Local entrepreneur Alf Andersson ensures that Santa Claus is on site every season and that international guests can come and experience a real Arctic winter’s day and at the same time submit their Christmas wish list in person.

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There is probably nothing that beats meeting the real Santa Claus. Since 2013, Santa Claus has been present at Santa’s Winter Village from the First Advent Sunday until Christmas Eve. So far there have only been guests from the UK who visit Santa Claus, but Alf Andersson intends to develop the winning concept towards more target groups.

Built Santa’s workshop

Alf Andersson was originally planning to build a garage, but it turned out quite different from the initial plan.

“I built Santa’s workshop instead, and then took the idea further with contacts from Pajala Airport and representatives from Newmarket Holiday in the UK. The first visitors from the UK arrived here in Pajala eight years ago, ready to meet Santa Claus. Since then, we have had the pleasure to greet hundreds of guests annually, 2020 being the only exception”, says Alf, who previously ran a bus company with trips to Rovaniemi, Finland, where he experienced a similar concept built on the magic of Christmas and Santa Claus.

With all his experience and knowledge of what tourists really value and want, Alf has tailored a unique program at Santa’s Winter Village.

“Guests get to experience what is typical of Pajala and the Arctic winter, such as dog sledding, snowmobiling, and meeting reindeer. And of course, the highlight is the meeting with Santa Claus himself. Everyone who comes here values ​​the experience. I have probably never seen so many happy adults, they become like children again and take that experience home with them. Hopefully they will also get see the northern lights during their day-long stay here”, says Alf Andersson.

Further developments

Alf has always been a fiery soul who is passionate about development. What was originally intended as a small test business has grown into a large tourist destination. Between 13 to 14 full flights arrive at Pajala Airport each season, and the sights set on Santa’s Winter Village.

In the long run, the concept of Santa’s Winter Village can be developed further and become and international phenomenon, not only attracting guests from the UK but from all over the world. According to Alf Andersson, the local airport already has the capacity to welcome more tourists. Most likely, people from all over the world will be able to meet and greet Santa Claus in Pajala in the next few years.