Christmas Day. The official day of Christmas. Yet, we Finns start the Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve.
I have been trying to explain this to others since I’m used to wish ‘Merry Christmas’ on the Christmas Eve, and they say Christmas is tomorrow. I know that…
I know that in America and in Britain kids wakes up in the morning to see presents under a Christmas tree. During the night before Santa Claus has been placed those presents under the tree. In Finland we actually get to see Santa, in person. Yes, you heard me, Santa visits every Finnish home during Christmas Eve. It was such a nightmare that day to wait till evening for Santa’s arrival…but when me and my brother heard the doorbell ringing, we run to the door to open it, and we saw Santa. He came in and talked to us.
“Have you been good children?”
He would open his sack full of present and gave them to us. Then he leaves even though we would want him to stay for more longer, but Santa has to go to bring presents to other children.
Our grandma and uncle used to visit us that day, and uncle always had to go to the store just before Santa would arrive. He always missed Santa’s visit. Wonder why? 😉 Now we usually visit our grandma where our uncle is as well on Christmas Day to enjoy Christmas sauna. I didn’t realize how much I had missed sauna till I came back to Finland… This time we need to skip our traditional Christmas dinner at grandpa’s house. He’s getting older and older, after all.
Speaking of Santa, if you didn’t already know, Santa lives in Finland in the north, Lapland (NOT IN THE NORTH POLE!). This place is called Korvatunturi (it means: ear=korva, fell=tunturi, I know it sounds funny). Truthfully, of course, the REAL ‘Santa’ was Saint Nicholas who lived hundreds of years ago in a place which is these days is known as Turkey. Somehow after him this idea of the existence of Santa Claus or Father Christmas came to alive, and kids have believed him bringing presents. We even have a movie called Joulutarina (Christmas story) where is told how Santa Claus was born.
I like our tradition where Santa visits us and brings presents rather than just wake up on the Christmas Day morning to see the presents and never see Santa Claus himself. Of course, me and my brother are too old now to believe in Santa anymore, but these days we give the presents together to each other. Some of my friends are already that old they have their own children to enjoy Santa’s visits. I’m not having that any time soon.
I wonder how difficult is has been to every parent to hide the presents from their children. I do remember one time we found a sack full of presents, and my dad got really angry to us about it. He yelled to get away from it. I guess they had to find a new hiding place because the sack wasn’t there anymore…
I like Christmas because you can be with your family and enjoy Christmas food. When you grow older the presents are not that important, but it’s always nice to surprise others and buy or even make something nice as a gift.
Like I did in the last minute before I arrived here… My assignments and university studies have kept me busy but I rushed early to be able to go for Christmas shopping. Our neighbor’s grandchildren wanted snow globes, especially Ben wanted inside to be Big Ben, so I had go look for the snow globes in London. Also I wanted to find something for my parents (I had already found a present to my brother online to be delivered straight to Finland: Chelsea-hoodie). I found a hoodie in which was written London for my dad, and my mum I found (after struggling what to get to her…) this wine red knitted sweater because she always likes to wear those on special occasions.
And of course what Christmas would be without…Home Alone (Yksin kotona), Die Hard (It’s a Christmas movie!), and other traditional Christmas movies.
There’s been in Finland usually before Christmas shown Tonttu Toljanteri (Elf Toljander), and more for adults: The Joulukalenteri, where there are funny elves who speak both Finnish and English, in the same sentence, and scary creature Näsä trying to steal the elves’ important book.
I remember watching this when I was 12. This episode is the last one. Since it’s mostly Finnish you can’t understand it if you don’t speak the language.
On Christmas Eve there’s shown in the morning Joulupukin kuumalinja (Santa Claus’ hotline) in which you can call to Santa on the show and send Christmas wishes via email or online that are shown on TV. There’s also shown many other traditional Finnish Christmas TV shows, such as Samu Sirkan joulutervehdys (From All of Us to All of You) and my favorite from childhood: Joulupukki ja noitarumpu (Santa Claus and the Magic Drum).
There’s a witch in the North of Finland trying ruin Santa’s plans to get ready for Christmas after Santa receives an odd letter, a drawing which no one seems to know what it means and what this ‘child’ wants as a gift.
SPOILER!: This letter is from the witch who send it 50 years ago, but it got lost in the mail arriving so late that the witch thought Santa ignored him and decided to do all those pranks. The drawing showed him as being Santa’s little helper, an elf, which he became in the end and helped Santa to deliver presents.
What kind of Christmas traditions do you have?