* Wear the right clothing - this is absolutely essential and cannot be stressed enough. Layers and waterproof outer clothing are a must. Temperatures are cold during the day - the first three days of our visit it was minus 28 degrees centigrade, although it warmed up to minus 15 degrees by the end of the week. You also need thermal socks, waterproof and insulated gloves or mittens (I found these preferable) and hats that cover your ears. A balaclava for covering your face when doing activities is also a good idea. Make sure you have a good pair of boots - insulated, waterproof and with a good tread. Goggles are also useful if you are doing reindeer and husky rides. Get the anti-fog type with tints.
* Thermal suits and boots are available for hire in the resorts - these were included in our holiday. They are not a substitute for the waterproof clothing listed above and are a handy extra. The thermal suit is an all in one overall which is worn over your clothing. The boots are rubber soled and lined. The temperature immediately strikes you in Lapland - you really need at all times to be togged up in endless layers of clothes, even if you only venture outside for 5 minutes.
* Be aware of the temperature at all times. If, like during our visit, it becomes exceptionally cold - i.e. minus 20 degrees or less, you need to manage your time outside and keep going in every 15-20 minutes to warm up. You also need to keep a close eye on children and make sure that all areas of skin are covered.
* Lapland packages are marketed in the UK as primarily being about seeing Santa. From the moment you step off the plane however, you realise this is just one of a multitude of reasons for coming to this most unusual part of the world. The Santa trips tend to be only 3-4 days - in our experience this is nowhere near enough time to properly explore and you need a week. We visited Lapland 8 years ago and spent the week skiing, on this visit we did not ski at all, but still found our time to be rich with interesting activities and adventures.
* We stayed in Levi - a small town with shops, a bowling alley, restaurants, bars and a few hotels. Choose your resort carefully - some places are a bit more wilderness like. We flew into Kitilla airport - the transfer by coach to Levi from here takes only 15-20 minutes.
* Christmas is the coldest and darkest time of year, but is a good time to see the Northern Lights. During December, 150 miles above the Arctic Circle, the sun does not rise properly. Instead from 10am to 3pm there is a violet tinged sunlight. I cannot emphasise how unusual this is and how strange it makes you feel.
* The local language is Finnish, but as elsewhere in the country, you will find everyone speaks excellent English.
* Traffic on main roads is sparse, distances are great and driving conditions are hazardous. I would absolutely not recommend hiring a car in this area.
* Sample reindeer and cloudberry. They serve reindeer in soups, stews and as a meat dish - delicious. Cloudberry is apparently the world's most expensive berry. It grows in swamps and contains lots of Vitamin C.
* Take time to play in the snow - it is such great fun for adults and children alike. If you stray off the main thoroughfares you can sink in it up to your waist!
* The optimum age for children on a Lapland holiday, I would say, is 4 plus. Any younger than this and the cold would be too challenging. If you want to have a "Santa" holiday, they probably need to be under 8 - any older and they might be cynical about the Santa stuff. Our son at 6 was the perfect age - completely taken in and awestruck by Santa and old enough to do most other snowy activities.
* Photography can be a bit frustrating - keep your camera inside your coat when not in use. The warmth of your body will keep the battery from draining. Also I found mittens to be the best thing - your hands freeze even in the short space of time it needs to take a photo, pulling mittens off and on is so much easier than gloves.