Christmas in Finland by Jo Jackson

Dec 11 2017, 10:47 pm in ,

    Here in the north of Finland, December is a pretty dark time of year. Where I live our ‘day’ lasts a whopping 4 hours right now but further north, high above the arctic circle, they are already experiencing the long polar night or kaamos when the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon at all. But Christmas in this part of the world is anything but gloomy!

 

 

Houses are decorated with twinkling fairy lights and flickering candles throughout the winter but even more so around Christmas. Finland is also celebrating 100 years of independence in December this year so many public buildings are also being illuminated with blue and white light to mark the occasion. On the day itself every house puts two blue and white candles in the window at 6pm. Popular belief is that Finns used to put candles in their windows as a sign that theirs was a ‘safe house’ during the war for independence.

 

 

 

 

If you’re especially lucky, you might even get to see some natural illuminations in the form of the Northern Lights. There are few things more magical than watching the night sky come alive with colours and shapes moving gracefully across the heavens above.

 

     Christmas in Finland is all about family. Everyone comes together on Christmas Eve and, unlike most countries, Santa visits their houses during the evening and they all open their presents on the eve itself. My children and I watch from our window to see Santa visiting the neighbours’ homes with a bulging sack and I can’t tell you how exciting it is!

     Having grown up going to bed on Christmas Eve and waiting eagerly for the morning to see what I’d been lucky enough to be brought, I can’t quite get my head around opening everything up on Christmas Eve. So, my girls don’t get their presents until Christmas morning but Santa does bring them one present on Christmas Eve to open. He drops the rest off on his way home to Rovaniemi.

     Rovaniemi is a city on the arctic circle where Santa lives. It’s in Lapland and we drive up to hand deliver the girls’ letters to him every year. There are enormous Christmas trees and lights everywhere you look and even though the place is teeming with tourists during the winter months, it’s hard not to get drawn into the atmosphere of it all. Christmas music floating on the air, reindeer waiting to be petted and usually a lot of snow!

     Children in Finland keep an eye out for tonttu or elves, Santa’s helpers who come to see who is being well behaved. A flash of red outside a window can unleash some serious excitement I can tell you!

     Christmas is also full of music and gathering around a piano with friends and loved ones, with a glass of glögi (a hot Finnish drink that can be alcoholic or child friendly) and some freshly baked gingerbread to enjoy the season together is very Finnish indeed.

                                                                   Hyvää joulua!

 

I’m Jo Jackson and I’ve been writing stories since I was a child. I wrote my first serious attempt at a novel at the age of 14 and wrote regularly after that until real life and ‘adulting’ got in the way.

A few years ago I allowed myself to have enough belief and confidence in my writing to try and do something about the stories that have been trapped in my imagination for too long. I’m a British born preschool teacher and photographer who’s been living for the last 12 years in Northern Finland with my husband, two children and our crazy black labrador. Here I write under the northern lights in winter and the midnight sun in summer, taking large amounts of inspiration from family holidays spent in the Scottish Highlands as well as the adventure games of my childhood. I tend to write about love, in various guises. 

You can read Jo’s Flash Fiction, Todayright here. Just search recent posts for her name.

4 responses to “Christmas in Finland by Jo Jackson”

  1. Rebekah says:

    Jo that sounds lovely. All those lights and the candles in the windows AND delivering your letter to Santa. Thanks for sharing ❤️

  2. rhenuber says:

    I loved this post. The Northern Lights is on my bucket list. To be able to see them over your home is fantastic.

  3. Alyssa Henderson says:

    Wow Jo! It sounds so amazing. I am totally jealous of the Northern Lights and all those twinkle lights.

  4. Liza says:

    Lovely jo!
    You live at the heart of Christmas land. Your words capture the excitement and awe that Christmas brings.

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