Santa begins Christmas journey from Lapland home

December 24, 2018 - 7:06 PM
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A man dressed as Santa Claus poses for a picture at the Santa Claus Office located on the Arctic Circle near Rovaniemi
A man dressed as Santa Claus poses for a picture at the Santa Claus Office located on the Arctic Circle near Rovaniemi, Finland December 16, 2018. Picture taken December 16, 2018. (Reuters/Attila Cser)

ROVANIEMI, Finland — Santa Claus has set off to deliver Christmas presents to children around the world, with his helpers giving him a musical send-off at his Lapland home as he embarks on the mammoth trip.

Families gathered in temperatures of -22 degrees Celsius on Sunday night in Rovaniemi, which calls itself Santa’s official hometown, near the Arctic Circle as his helpers put on a song-and-dance performance to wish him luck.

Santa briefly spoke to the crowd, wishing them a peaceful and happy Christmas before leaving on a sleigh to stock it up with presents for his Christmas Eve journey.

“Hope you all have had a great year. Of course, there have been many things in the world that should have been different,” he said in English.

“Hopefully, Christmas would bring a little moment when the world and its people would calm down for a while to spend time with family and friends.” — Reporting by Reuters Television; Editing by Alison Williams