The Rovaniemi Christmas brand

Rovaniemi is the Official Hometown of Santa Claus, and Visit Rovaniemi the city’s Christmas brand guardian. Visit Rovaniemi keeps central throughout its operations the Christmas brand values: authenticity, giving and caring, surprise and innovation as well as constant presence. Read more about the Rovaniemi Christmas brand below.

Download Rovaniemi Christmas Brand brochure as PDF here

What is the Rovaniemi Christmas brand?

A story that comes to life is what distinguishes Rovaniemi from other cities and makes us interesting to others. It is a summary of what we as a group believe and what we want to offer to the world. It is the basis on which we build a constantly more appealing perception of Rovaniemi.

  • Rovaniemi is a place where stories are alive and where more are created every day. Rovaniemi is the Official Hometown of Santa Claus, a city where arguably the world’s most famous person has chosen to live year round. It is easy to talk with local residents, history and everyday life are full of unique features and one can truly encounter Santa himself. Rovaniemi has a natural, playful, Lappish and creative feel. After visiting Rovaniemi one will be changed forever.
  • There are four core values which effectively describe what we mean by stories that come to life. These are Authenticity, Giving and Caring, Surprise and Innovation as well as Constant Presence.
  • By making use of these markers in planning and realising everyday activities, high-visibility events or communication we will help Rovaniemi achieve the reputation it deserves.


Core values, together with a Living Story, depict Rovaniemi’s unique characteristics, values and modes of action which are distinguished from the masses and are what we have to offer. They are used as internal markers, for example in considering what type of projects we should undertake and what kind of communication we want to implement. Basic values should be seen as an entirety which, when presented as a whole, describes our position as a City of Living Stories.


Authenticity means natural, unaffected and original. It also means reliable, honest and unreserved. In Rovaniemi it is mixed with the mystique and fantasy of childhood dreams.

Authenticity is forthright, clear and sincere. It also means standing behind your values – even when it is unpleasant. Authenticity means a strong tie to one’s own roots and history as well as openness for things to come.

Examples of Rovaniemi’s authenticity are:

  • Santa Claus receives visitors every single day of the year
  • An unspoilt arctic natural environment, the Arctic Circle, the Northern Lights and the Midnight Sun
  • A living and growing city at the junction of two large rivers and a central shopping area rich in Lappish tradition

Santa Claus and his reindeer in a snowy forest in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

Giving and Caring

Caring means looking after the wellbeing of everyone, big and small, young and old, acquaintances and guests. It means security, respect and consideration for everyone.

It means empathy and sharing, also for the underprivileged and fragile. Justice. Active participation and an effort to take care of each individual.

Examples of Rovaniemi’s giving and caring are:

  • Santa meets all guests year round at no cost
  • Lappish hospitality, acceptance of others and caring
  • Accessible exercise routes
  • UNICEF partner city in 2010 and ongoing collaboration that includes annual donations

Santa Claus holding a box of cloudberries in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

Surprising and Creative

Creative means new ways of thinking. The ability to surprise. Seeing things from a new perspective. It means recognising new possibilities and solutions and believing in a better future. Not allowing yourself to be limited by established customs or opinions.

Surprise is seen in contrasts: A city in harmony with unspoilt nature. Wilderness unified with high technology and infrastructure. The fact that Rovaniemi is near and far at the same time. The warm spirit, mystique and magic of Christmas and Lapland combined with a modern city.

Examples of surprise and creativity in Rovaniemi are:

  • Alvar Aalto’s “Reindeer Antler Town Plan”, a city plan for post-war Rovaniemi
  • The University of Lapland and its art faculty
  • The Arctic Centre
  • Rovaniemi Design Week
  • The Lappset company, an expert in inspiring environments for toys and games
  • Concrete reindeer sculptures

Santa Claus fishing in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

Constant presence

Christmas is a state of mind, which in Rovaniemi is present always and everywhere. Warm spirited, caring and responsible, but with a playful feeling year round.

This is visible in real actions and approaches in Rovaniemi. It is visible in products manufactured in Rovaniemi. It is visible in youth tournaments organised by RoPS, a local football club.

It is also visible in surprising things, in which Rovaniemi’s creativity and talent in creative fields culminate. Even if you do not see Santa himself, Rovaniemi feels like his hometown.

Examples of constant presence in Rovaniemi are:

  • Lappset products
  • The Wishing Bell
  • Santa Claus Village on the Arctic Circle, open year round
  • Any resident of Rovaniemi

Santa Claus enjoying coffee by open fire in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

Principles of collaboration

What we expect of those we collaborate with:

  • Believing in Santa Claus and furthering the Christmas brand in a manner that is mutually agreed upon
  • Responsible interaction with their own customers, those they collaborate with, the community, environment and society
  • Positive operations and product image
  • A desire to collaborate with other participants in the Christmas network
  • Consistent quality monitoring and development within their own organisation

We will not collaborate with businesses:

  • That do not believe in Santa Claus or in some other way act unethically or harmfully with regard to the Christmas brand
  • Whose primary source of revenue is alcohol, gambling, cigarettes, toy weapons or the production or sale of adult entertainment
  • That receive customer complaints or negative publicity to an extent that is damaging to the Christmas brand
  • That do not comply with laws, directives or good practices

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