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. 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.