At home in Finland, Santa tells the world’s kids he has the green light for Christmas

Children and adults alike will be glad to learn that vehicles propelled by flying reindeer – and their drivers – are globally exempt from travel restrictions, at least during the holiday season.

Santa Claus has been in touch with countries all over the world to make sure that he can deliver presents this year despite the coronavirus situation.

A bulletin released by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland states that through their diplomatic channels around the globe, they have helped Santa ascertain that “Covid-19-related travel restrictions do not apply to flying reindeer, if those reindeer are pulling a sleigh full of presents.” Also, “the driver of such a sleigh” gets a temporary exemption from the restrictions. [Full disclosure: ThisisFINLAND is produced at the Ministry.]

So on Christmas Eve, Santa will be able to take off from his headquarters in northern Finland, as he always has, and make his delivery rounds.

Many of us probably haven’t given this issue much thought, but you can bet that one group of people definitely has: kids. This website has written previously about children’s letters to Santa. When we talked with Santa’s elves in Finnish Lapland, where his workshop, post office and home are located, they told us that, in addition to presents, kids mention troubling current events, such as wars, natural disasters, famines, epidemics and other news stories they have heard about – or witnessed first-hand. Taken collectively, the messages reflect the issues that are on kids’ minds in any given year.

Wonderful ideas

Santa Claus carries a bag over his shoulder, with a snowy forest in the background.

In a snowy Finnish landscape, Santa Claus carries a bag of gifts to his sleigh.Photo: Kimmo Syväri/Visit Finland

The coronavirus situation has touched everyone’s lives in one way or another. Since it has curtailed travel, social gatherings and even school attendance, it’s not surprising that kids were left wondering if Santa would arrive.

And while Santa will not be deterred from delivering his presents, his statement to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland emphasised other aspects of the holiday in addition to gift-giving: Christmas spirit and safety: “This year, above all, I want people to experience Christmas as a relaxing time, and as a happy moment that also revitalises us. Nothing can stop us from enjoying the finest time of the year. However, this time we should celebrate Christmas in a safe and proper way by carefully following instructions we are given.”

Ireland’s ambassador to Finland, Ruth Parkin, has also delved into these issues. She posted footage from a video call she had with Santa Claus. They talked about children’s letters (“They have wonderful ideas,” said Santa), and about climate issues (“We need [those ideas] now, because we have to help the environment,” he also said).

She had contacted Santa to discuss facilitating delivery to him of “messages from the children of Ireland” on behalf of her country’s Department of Foreign Affairs, as part of a Christmas campaign on their To Be Irish website. He talked with her from his office, which is located right on the Arctic Circle, just outside the northern Finnish city of Rovaniemi, about 800 kilometres (500 miles) north of the capital, Helsinki.

For part of December, the Irish website is carrying an online form for messages to Santa, which Parkin will ensure get delivered to him. For more about Santa and Mrs Claus, see ThisisFINLAND’s articles “Finland’s ambassador of Christmas” and “Exclusive interview: Mrs Claus of Korvatunturi, Finland.”

By ThisisFINLAND staff, December 2020