The Coca-Cola Christmas Truck made more than 300 stops around the world before arriving in Finland, where it paid a first-time visit to the Arctic Circle in the city of Rovaniemi, also known as the official home town of Santa Claus.
Santa and Rovaniemi Mayor Esko Lotvonen welcomed the truck in town and honored Coca-Cola with the "Christmas Spirit Recognition" for the company's contributions to spread goodwill and joy during the holiday season. Walter Susini, senior vice president of marketing, Coca-Cola EMEA, accepted the honor.
On a crisp winter morning, with all trees covered in snow and pale stars adorning the sky, a group of people gathered on the Arctic Circle in Santa Claus Village. The Coca-Cola Christmas Truck together with representatives of Rovaniemi, Official Hometown of Santa Claus, are waiting for Santa Claus to arrive with his reindeer.
“Santa Claus is an ambassador of goodwill, kindness and joy, all values in high demand in any culture. With this recognition we wanted to honor these qualities and recognize The Coca-Cola Company for its long history in furthering the holiday spirit all over the world. Coca-Cola is known for Christmas icons like Christmas Truck Tour and the kind and cheerful Santa Claus character that both are made to do good and capture the joy of the season," Lotvonen said. “Santa Claus is a symbol of caring, sharing and happiness which are values shared both by Rovaniemi and Coca-Cola. These are also valued by half a million annual visitors to Rovaniemi as well as millions of people who have visited Coca-Cola Christmas Truck events around the world."
The Arctic Circle marks the southernmost latitude where the sun can stay continuously below or above the horizon for 24 hours. These phenomena are known as the Midnight Sun in the summer and the Polar Night in the winter.
“In Finnish Lapland, there is no better stop for the Coca-Cola Christmas tour than the Village of Santa Claus himself. For the fact that Coca-Cola has a special relationship with Santa Claus and Finland. In 1930’s Coca-Cola commissioned an American artist Sundblom to create an image of Santa Claus for Christmas advertising. Sundblom’s father was an immigrant from Aland Islands, a province of Finland located in the Baltic Sea. The character he created was a completely new view of Santa Claus, not seen before,” said Susini.
Rovaniemi received the status of the Official Hometown of Santa Claus in 2010. Santa Claus Village right on the Arctic Circle is Lapland’s best-known attraction that draws more than 500,000 annual visitors from all around the world.
In his 30 plus years in Rovaniemi, Santa has received millions of visitors including pop stars, politicians, TV personalities, athletes and everyday people from every corner of the world. Since 1985, Santa Claus has received 17 million letters from 200 countries, which makes Santa Claus Main Post Office a must on any visit to Santa Claus Village.
Rovaniemi was almost completely destroyed in World War II. In 1950, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt came to visit Rovaniemi to witness the rebuilding process. She wanted to visit the Arctic Circle, and Rovaniemi officials rushed to build a cabin just north of the city, marking the birth of Santa Claus Village.