'Open fires, ice slides, reindeers and the real Santa' - Lapland is Christmas-card beautiful
As I drove to the airport at 3.30am, I looked over at my eight-year-old daughter and said: "This is mad." She grinned at me. "Yes, Mum, but it's Christmas mad."
We were off to Lapland on a package tour. In a moment of madness, or perhaps weakness, I'd booked an overnight trip to the North Pole. It's something I've always wanted to do and she is utterly under the spell of the season's magic, so we went for it. I casually mentioned it to two pals with daughters the same age. Within an hour they'd booked to come too.
When the final price flashed up on my computer screen I had second thoughts. It was a lot of money for 24 hours, but then I thought of all the articles I'd read and the people I've met who said it was worth every penny and used words like "magical" and "breathtaking".