Chances are you won’t make it all the way to the North Pole this winter, but luckily there’s a much more accessible location in Finnish Lapland where it feels like Christmas every day of the year. Straddling the Arctic Circle, the town of Rovaniemi has spent decades cementing its status as the official hometown of Joulupukki (“Yule Goat”), as Santa is known locally in Finnish. Today, that snowy stretch of Finland—about 440 miles north of Helsinki—is home to the Santa Claus Village, an amusement park where you can go on reindeer rides and drop into Santa Claus’s Post Office, which receives some 30,000 letters daily.
Today, Airbnb announced that it would be opening up the post office and Santa’s cabin for a three-night immersive sleepover—for free. Of course, your family will have to work for your stay: Chief Elf and Airbnb Host Katja will task you with sorting through letters to Santa, emptying mailboxes, and stamping envelopes with the official Arctic Circle postmark.
All work and no play makes a dull elf, so the experience offers plenty of opportunities to explore the wintry surroundings, including traditional Finnish meals, a snowmobile ride, an excursion to see the northern lights, and a visit to a traditional sauna. Once it’s time to settle in for a long winter’s nap, your family will retire to Santa and the Missus’s cabin, which is decked out with traditional Lapland decor, bunk beds for the kids, and a wardrobe filled with elfwear.
Among the cheeky guest rules you’ll be asked to follow: Ask Santa nicely before taking an “elfie” with him and take off your boots when you enter the cabin so you don’t trample snow into the handwoven Lappish rugs. Roasting chestnuts over an open fire? Definitely permitted.
As part of the promotion, Airbnb is making a donation to Special Children’s Omaiset ELO, a peer-support association for Lappish children with special needs and their families.
How to stay the night in Santa Claus’s Cabin
Families can request to book this free stay on Monday, December 11, at 12 p.m. EET (or Eastern European Time, Finland’s time zone) by visiting airbnb.com/santa. (That’s 5 a.m. ET or 2 a.m. PT—so set your alarms!)
The three-night experience will take place December 18–21; it is designed to accommodate two adults and two children, with breakfasts and dinners included. Visit Finland is covering round-trip flights on Finnair from London Heathrow Airport to Rovaniemi, so if you’re coming from the United States, you’ll need to book your own airfare to London or all the way to Finland.
If you’re not part of the one lucky family to make it on to Santa’s invite list this year, check out our recent lineup of cozy winter cabins on Airbnb, which includes a modern ski chalet even farther north in Finnish Lapland. Otherwise, you can scroll through other winter wonderlands using Airbnb’s new Arctic category filter, which makes it easier to find igloos, cabins, container houses, and more north of the Arctic Circle.