Visiting Helsinki at Christmas, Santa Claus country, is the best destination for the romantic or the family.
For Nordics Christmas is home and family, a month before they start to decorate the city. Decorating the streets with lights of all colors and decorative candles, buildings contribute to the holiday spirit, even houses show their Christmas spirit by leaving handfuls of oats in the windows for the birds.
Christmas starts on November 23 with the Little Christmas, Pikkujoulu, and with opening of the shops windows decorated, quite a sight to see.
The lighting of the Christmas lights Aleksanterinkatu, The most European Street in the city shows that the big day is approaching. It is one of the most famous shopping streets of Helsinki.
The Cathedral Square has a large Christmas tree full of lights. It is worth walking under the Esplanadi blue trees. One of the biggest attractions of Helsinki is to walk through the halls decorated with giant balls and colored lights in the Kamppi shopping center where Christmas goods are sold and the Stockman department stores.
On December 13 they celebrate the feast of Santa Lucia, they choose a city girl to wear a Santa outfit consisting of a white dress and a crown of candles.
There are three Christmas markets, the Women Market, from the 5 to the 9 of December at the Vanha Satama Katajanokka. It is a charity fair that sells handicrafts and traditional food handmade by women and village elders. Gingerbread is exquisite. The St. Thomas Market, from the 7 to the 22 of December in the Senate Square, Finnish crafts, Christmas decorations, desserts and drinks. And finally, the Old Bazaar Christmas Market, from the 7 to the 21 of December, in the old home of the students, more than 160 vendors offer crafts, candles, pottery, clothing and Christmas cards.
Christmas Eve begins with a breakfast of rice porridge and oats. At twelve o’clock Christmas peace is proclaimed, the official beginning of this holiday. Christmas meal consists of baked ham, scalloped potatoes, liver pate, salmon, rice cream, turkey and gingerbread cookies, accompanied by a high-ranking spiced wine called Glöggi that is drunk hot,. We cannot forget Christmas saunas, a great tradition. After dark, families approach the cemetery to light candles on the graves of their loved ones.
Joulupukki, Santa Claus, visits children, dressed as gnomes, to ask if they have been good and give them gifts that they open with the family after dinner on Christmas Eve.
On December 25, after congratulating Christmas, “Rauhallista Joulua” they eat the leftovers after visiting friends and family. On December 26, St. Stephen, Tapaninpäivä, rides in a sleigh attending house parties or lounges.
The New Year is a habit, a ritual magic, revealing the fortune of the new year with objects hidden under the cups or the interpretation of the shadows projected on the wall of the figures resulting from horseshoes melt tin and pour them in cold water.
In the new year, you can go to the Senate Square to enjoy the festivities and fireworks or go to private parties.
Other activities that can be practiced in Helsinki are skating on ice, ice fishing, skiing, bobsledding or Joulupukki or visit Lapland, near the Rovaniemi, you can find the Santapark amusement park
To find where to stay looks at Only-apartments in Helsinki