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Traditional Finnish Christmas

Last updated on December 29, 2018

This is my last post of Christmas 2017, I promise.

We had such a beautiful Christmas weather I can’t even believe it.

Traditional Finnish Christmas is all about peace and quiet – and food. My family starts the day at 10:30ish when me and my grandma arrive to the countryside house, we drink some glögi and go to my other grandma’s for the declaration of Christmas peace via TV (live in Turku) with my cousins. And once this, the most boring 30 minutes of Christmas Eve (that’s right, we celebrate on 24th!) is done, we EAT. Rice porridge kicks off the eating! This year I ate two platefulls of rice porridge and that was a mistake – I couldn’t manage to eat any chocolate later. With porridge we have this kind of a fruit soup that has dates, raisins and other bits and pieces in it and it is seasoned with cinnamon. We call it sekametelisoppa which directly translates to mixed noise soup. The name makes no sense at all.

She wanted porridge too..

After the rice porridge we go back to our house and my cousins and grandma continue to their house. At least in our family where there are no kids, this is the calm moment of the day. My dad takes a nap, we eat chocolate and talk and watch photos of past year. Many Finns still go to church on Christmas even if they are not religious (as I am not), and I believe 4pm and 6pm services are the most popular ones. I am happy to go because it’s a tradition and there is a Poke Stop there so I play Pokemon for 45 minutes. My mom and grandma usually fall asleep. Teisko Church was built 1788 and is made of wood. You can have a look inside here: VirtualTampere

Of course we go to the cemetery to leave candles for our loved ones’. My dad’s side of the family is from here, Teisko, so we take a while to walk through the cemetery visiting many graves.

Atmosphere at church when people are singing: Christmas Church. Hopefully you can open it if interested! You can see I tried to keep my phone down, so the quality to see what the church looks like is not the best.

And then, FINALLY, we get to eat! More food! Christmas casseroles and ham, and lots and lots of fish!

For starters we have fish and rosolli (salad made of carrot, beetroot and pickle).

And for those who don’t eat fish (my mom and sister) we have reindeer starters. Ham and smoke turkey are for everyone.

The warm food is Christmas casseroles: potato, carrot, turnip and liver casseroles. And of course, smoke salmon we smoke ourselves for the Christmas table.

What’s Christmas without an overload of cheese? Nothing I say. So we have cheeses too!

After eating we finally get to presents! These are not all of them, my mom always hides some downstairs. And as you can see at the background, also Urho, the family moose, is feeling festive!

Desserts come 3 hours after the Christmas meal, after presents.

My family eats for 2 hours and then opens presents for 3 hours – even when it’s just us adults. We have so many presents and we always take them one by one so everyone watches when someone opens their presents. This way it takes time but it’s really a lot of fun to see who got what from whom. And since we need to wait for desserts anyway, we might as well take our time. Then we are almost hungry again!

At least someone was happy of her present!


Happy holidays!

Remember, you can also find me from:
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