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Retailing In Lapland!


Posted At: 07 December 2008 10:18 AM
Related Categories: Retail


The idea of a blog based around retailing in Lapland made me giggle. Lapland has this magical appeal for anyone who’s ever been a bright-eyed 6 year old leaving mince pies and carrots out for Santa Claus and Rudolf on Christmas Eve.

When I picture Lapland at Christmas in my mind, I think twinkling snow, log cabins and big burley Finnish men dragging fluffy-looking green Christmas trees behind them in the snow. I don’t think it’s actually like that, though, no matter what Thomas Cook might tell you. For a start – and I’ve only just discovered this – Lapland is DARK at Christmas! Some websites say no sunlight, other sites say December averages between 4 and 5 hours of daylight per day. Whatever, I like nighttime and I’m sure the revontulet (aurora borealis to you and me) is stunning, but I don’t think that would do much for my S.A.D, thanks!
Oh and it’s COLD. I knew it would be cold (its 1299.1 nautical miles from the North Pole for Christ’s sake), but I don’t think we can really grasp the concept of -40°C here in England. I thought it was chilly when scraping my car this morning, but I can’t even imagine what kind of heavy duty de-icer and scraping would be needed at minus 40! Or what kind of crazy military-style car would even work at that temperature!

Anyway I digress. Retailing. Well, there isn’t really a lot to say. From what I gather, it’s quite a sparse place, and not really the type of environment conductive to skipping up and down the streets on a day long shopping spree. From what I can see, there is one shopping centre, in Pyhä, which has a supermarket, post office, laundrette, sports shop, coffee shops and some souvenir stores. Souvenir stores and sports shops made up the majority of what I could find in the area, so unless you’re going to ski, shopping probably isn’t going to be that thrilling. Lapland is also quite expensive. One website I saw said that shopping in Lapland can be nearly twice as expensive as in England, which I suppose isn’t really surprising considering how valuable resources must be in such a far flung place.
For tourists, traditional gifts include dolls, wooden carvings, woollen hats and gloves and reindeer skin rugs, and Lapland is one of the only places in the world you can sample reindeer-based dishes like reindeer hash (you used to be able to get reindeer meat in Ikea, but some group or other complained, so now you probably can't) 

I’m sure it’s a beautiful place, and many people take their families around this time of year (tourism brings in €94 million worth of business to Lapland’s retail sector per annum!!) but honestly, unless you’re into skiing, photography, cultural learning-type breaks or eating weird stuff, I’d stick to seeing Mr Claus at your local shopping centre if I were you. It’s cheaper, warmer and there is much less risk of having to explain to your kids why Rudolf is ‘asleep’ on the side of the road!

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