A True Northern Christmas
Everyone knows Santa Claus comes from Finland, but there’s more to a traditional Finnish Christmas than Saint Nick and the presents he brings. During the festive season, Finns like to take things slow and enjoy the company of loved ones.
The natural atmosphere is a key element for a true Finnish Christmas. White landscapes enshrouded in darkness, only lit by the stars in the sky and ice lanterns on driveways set the mood for a soothingly cosy festive season.
As for most, Christmas preparations in Finland start by deciding where to spend it. The family home is often preferred, but occasionally some jazzing up is in order and a villa or a cottage might be rented in the countryside.
Obviously, food plays a central part in Christmas celebrations in Finland, too. Pork roast is the main dish in most households and a variety of fish, casseroles and salads are served with it. The most authentic Christmas Eve breakfast is rice pudding.
Ginger biscuits and chocolates are the standard sweet snacks on Christmas. After a couple of Christmas ales, carols are sung with gusto.
Three Days of Feast
In Finland, Christmas Eve is the main event of the holidays, and the night Santa comes. It is spent with the family, decorating the tree, drinking “glögi” (mulled wine) and doing the quintessential Finnish thing, bathing in a Christmas sauna. A visit to Christmas Mass at midnight is customary for many.
While quiet and relaxing quality time with close relatives is preferred on Christmas Eve, visiting friends and eating leftovers is the thing to do on Christmas Day. Partying steps into the picture on Boxing Day, and many like to head out to bars and clubs in high Christmas spirits.
In the rush and crush of modern life, the rarities are what we value most, such as space, quiet and time. The space to breathe, a time to dream…