While Lapland occupies almost the entire northern half of Finland, it only has about 20,000 inhabitants (the entire population of Finland is 5 million), some of which are the native Sami people. It's dark most of the time in the winter, and it gets pretty cold. However, the weather was beautiful when I was there, with a very pleasant (and unseasonably warm) temperature of -7°C.
While many people visit Lapland in the winter for fashionable ski vacations, I mostly hiked around, took pictures, did some snow shoeing. Oh yeah, and I had my first conversation entirely in (broken) Finnish. I met a woman in the sauna who didn't speak English and was willing to have a conversation with very few verbs or prepositions.
The sun rose at approximately 11:30 and set at about 2:00 pm. These pictures were taken at about 1:00 pm, at the brightest time I could find! I may have seen the Northern Lights on my last day there.
While Lapland is a pretty common winter vacation spot, my Lonely Planet guide completely ignores the possibility of traveling to the north during winter and sticks with guiding travelers through the summer solstice and backpacking trips. I guess the authors find it hard to believe that some of us go there in spite of the darkness.
I went on a snow shoeing trip with some people from the Netherlands who flew up to Lapland for vacation.
This is what I looked like most of the time in Lapland with my warmest coat. I haven't had to wear it in Tampere yet, since we're also having unseasonably warm weather in Tampere. My new look is modeled after my Skype icon. Actually, this is what everyone looks like, you can't really tell us apart, once we're all bundled up!