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. After a couple of Christmas ales, carols are sung with gusto. At the end of the night a Christmas sauna relaxes both body and soul.
Depending on location, winter in Finland begins in November and can last up to five months, with temperatures ranging from a balmy zero to a lung-freezing minus 35.
Sweet pastries, cakes and biscuits are Finnish Christmas treats loved by people of all ages. One of the most cherished tasks of Christmas-time is decorating ginger bread, often to be hung on the branch of a beautiful spruce tree.
more the merrier
Finnish Christmas would not be the same without gingerbread of all shapes and sizes. The scents of freshly baked ginger biscuits, spicy mulled wine and wood-fired sauna in the making are perhaps all you need for the best holiday time of your life.
“Glögi”, a type of mulled wine, is a favoured hot drink at Christmas time. It is usually made out of red wine or red juice of some sort, mixed with spices like cardamon and cinnamon, then served with raisins and almonds.
Set the Mood
Ice lanterns or lanterns made out of small snow balls are a popular way of lighting up the wintry darkness.
Come and Greet
Finland is where Santa lives. Why don’t you pay him a return visit for all those times he came to your house?
In Finland, Christmas Eve is the main event of the holidays, and the night Santa comes with his presents. 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.
warmth and friendship
An old wooden sauna surrounded by white snow and warm candle light, shared with friends and family – what more could you want from your Christmas Eve?