Yes, I've used the 'C word' and it's only September, I know, I know. But bear with me on this one. I have a valid reason for doing so. As all people with children in their lives know, planning ahead becomes an essential part of your life. I too remember the days of grabbing the keys and heading out the door, whereas now it tends to consist of a roll call akin to a drill sergant; 'Where is your other shoe?!', 'Have you got your bag?', 'Go back and get your coat!' etc. The other vital part to successful parenting is being able to budget. And we all know the big ticket items that roll around each year, summer holidays, back to school and of course Christmas. So this article is to help you stay one step ahead of the game by letting you know about a truly magical experience that you can have with your loved ones this holiday season. And you still have time to save for it.

The true magic of Christmas is the feelings that it evokes for us. The gift of giving and seeing your loved ones eyes light up, that special feeling of anticipation and magic in the air. I'll be honest with you, I'm a Christmas nut. I inherited that trait from my mother, the lady with three (yes THREE) Christmas trees each year. When I think back to my childhood Christmases, I do so with very fond memories. And they are of the experiences I had with my family, and not the gifts I received. Whether it's mum dancing around the kitchen with Bing's White Christmas CD on in the background and the smell of mince pies in the air, or dad taking us all up to Sally's Gap to dangerously career down a hill on a toboggan and then later skid home on the ice, it's the memories that I cherish and not the presents that I received.

One thing that we always wanted to do was to visit the main man himself, Santa Claus, in Lapland. And while we never got around to doing it (there were 5 of us to handle!) it's now something that I'd like to do with my own daughter before she leaves behind this sweet stage of being loving and adorable and retreats into the moody angst of being a teenager for the foreseeable future.

The Irish award winning holiday company, Sunway Holidays, has two great options to choose from; the Santa's Sleepover is a one night trip or the Sleighbell Spectacular is a two night trip. They look after everything so that all you need to do is sit back and enjoy this once in a lifetime magical experience with your family. The flights are direct from Dublin/Cork to Finland. On arrival you are kitted out with the correct gear including Arctic suits and snow boots which you'll wear for most of your time there. This is a great idea as it saves you from having to purchase gear suitable for the conditions that you may never use again.

And then the fun begins! Depending on your chosen package, you will take part in a host of fantastic activities such as a snowmobile adventure, a reindeer sleigh ride through a snowy forest, a husky dog ride, decorating gingerbread, fun in the snow, and of course the main event, meeting Santa Claus himself and getting to see his village and post office.

All of which will create memories for you and your children that will last a lifetime. Prices start from €859 per adult and €759 per child and include flights, accommodation, food, Arctic gear and all activities. You can find more info at

Ho ho ho!