In Europe Christmas is the biggest holiday of the year, just like the New Year is in Asia. The big day for us in Scandinavia is the Christmas Eve unlike in many other European coutries like the UK.
There are certain similarities in most Finnish families' Christmas, I think. We are probably a good sample of a little family's city Christmas. Our holiday is mostly traditional but maybe with a tiny modern twist.
|Outdoor candles bring light into the darkness|
- the smell of the tree when I come downstairs in the morning of Christmas Eve. Matti is still sleeping, I make some tea and eat chocolates for breakfast and just enjoy the holiday spirit and the wonderfully fragrant tree. The tree has usually been decorated the previous night with old ornaments. I'm a traditionalist here!
- the big dinner which is had earlier than usual, talking and eating too much
- new books with delicious favourite chocolates later in the evening
|The tree was bought on Sunday. |
I'm the hobbit behind the tree, on the left.
|I prefer old ornaments with family history to new fashionable ones.|
The real Christmas begins at noon when the city of Turku traditionally declares the Christmas season opened. It's a rather serious occasion with singing, the Navy band and the reading of the declaration. It's a centuries old tradition.
If you committed any disturbance or crimes during the festive season those days, your punishment would be more severe than normally.
Since I have watched this on tv since I was a kid, it always makes me a little bit sentimental, but definitely sets the Christmas mood as well.
|Singing the national athem "Maamme".|
When the dinner is on it's way, we'll pop the Champagne open and have a little something to eat on the side.
|Champagne and gingerbread cookies with blue cheese.|
- cold smoked salmon
- warm smoked salmon
- smoked turkey (just a little bit, not a whole turkey)
- warm peas
- braised red cabbage
- creamy onions
- potato pudding
- carrot pudding
- swede pudding
I think the puddings are an acquired taste but most Finns like them a lot. I love my home made potato pudding. Its like oven baked potato mash with milk and butter and it's baked for several hours. It is started the previous night and you have get up twice during the night to stir it!
|Setting the table|
|The potato pudding|
When he was little Santa came and gave the presents after our son had sang a song or showed some magician's tricks. You can actually "rent" a Santa (don't tell anybody!) or he's your neigbour or a relative. When I was little the scales fell off my eyes when I realised Santa had my uncle's voice!
|Home made pecan sticky bun cake. Not beautiful, but delicious.|
|This year's movie|
|Snacks in case someone gets hungry|
|Reading new books|
So, this is how we spend Christmas. Is it very different from yours, if you happen to celebrate any?