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Christmas traditions in Finland

Christmas traditions in Finland are centered on the home and family.

Finland is the home of Santa, and every Finnish child knows that Santa lives on the Mountain of Korvatunturi in the town of Savukoski. This town is in the northern section of Finland called Lapland. There are many many reindeer in Lapland and, after all, Why wouldn't Santa live where his reindeer are? At Christmas Eve morning, the children are all full excitement for they know that Finland is the first country on the list of Santa's stops. As a matter of fact, he stops there on Christmas Eve with gifts for every one.

Before Christmas we have St. Lucia's Day 13th of December, as do most of the Scandinavian countries. Santa Lucia brings light to darkness. This is more celebrated in the western Finland, Swedish-speaking area.

Means: Merry Christmas and Happy New year!

The celebration of Christmas occurs from December 24th to the 26th. Several weeks before hand, during the advent season, homes are prepared, decorated and cleaned, cookies are baked and people have bought and made presents. Also sending Christmas cards is still a strong tradition.

Food The most common Christmas eve breakfast is rice pprridge. Thick and Creamy, it is served hot and topped with cinnamon, sugar and other spices. What a yummy way to serve a hot meal.

Then it’s time to decorate the Christmas tree, a young spruce from the forest.

After a light Christmas Eve lunch, families head out to take the sauna bath. With snow on the ground children and adults can roll in the snow or go ice swimming. If a house or summer cottage is by the water, you can saw a hole in the ice and get in the water, literally ice cold water!! If you suffer from a heart disease, you shouldn’t do this!

Dinner, of course, is great and tasty. There is ham (joulukinkku in Finnish), casseroles with carrots and rice, swedes and potatoes. Several kinds of fish including herring and cod, lots of whole grain breads, dried and cooked plums, peas and desserts.

The holiday drink is glogg, which is spiced red- and black currant juice with almonds and raisins in it. It’s a hot drink.

About 5 or 6 o'clock, families go to the cemeteries to leave candles on the graves of loved ones who won't be there to celebrate Christmas any longer. Thousands of flickering light, reflecting against the snow and trees create a memorable scene. Some people go to the cemeteries after Santa’s visit.

A bit later in the evening there is a knocking at the door, Joulupukki, Santa has arrived. It could be dad or grandfather who misses his arrival because he had to go do the evening chores. Joulupukki boldly asks," Are there any good children in the house".Of course there always is, and Santa never misses handing out presents. The children love to sing to Santa when he arrives, gives the presents and leaves to visit the rest of the world.

Christmas day (25th ) except for morning services in church is mostly a family day at home. However, many families visit friends and other relatives on the 26th (Boxing day).


Christmas is the time in which we all enjoy sharing traditions that remain through time.

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