Yay, Christmas is almost here! I had hoped Cee would have some Christmas questions for this week’s Share Your World. As her blog’s challenges are for everyone, whatever their beliefs, she cleverly made the questions generic. Lucky for me, Christmas can be incorporated into the answers.
What is your favorite holiday?
I’m sure you realized by now – CHRISTMAS!
What types of food is associated with your holiday?
Oooh! There’s so many. This is what our Christmas dinner will be:
- rye crisps filled smoked reindeer cold cuts mixed with sour cream
- cold smoked salmon and gravlax – yum!
- different types of roe with smetana and onion
- different types of herring
- a salad called rosolli (beetroot salad mixed with potato, carrot, onion and pickle – not for me thank you!)
- ham (with mustard) and turkey (with jam)
- carrot, turnip and potato casseroles (I will also serve a corn casserole for the first time but that is not a Finnish thing)
- home-made Carelian pies (karjalanpiirakka)
- different kinds of cheese (this is not traditionally Finnish but I think many people have a platter for Christmas), rye crackers, fig jam, nuts and grapes
- gingerbread cookies, cold plum custard (kiisseli), marmalade (vihreä kuula) and of course chocolates.. this year I’ve made a gingerbread-lingonberry cake and for Christmas Day I plan to make banoffee-lingonberry cups
- glögg, wine and soft drinks
Who can eat all this you may wonder… LOL! Usually we eat what is left of it all on Christmas Day. Sweet plum pastries (joulutorttu) are also associated with Christmas over here but I’m not very fond of them. Oh and I forgot – on Christmas Eve morning I will make rice porridge which is eaten with cinnamon and sugar.
Do you travel for your holiday?
Usually no. In Finland the 24th December – Christmas Eve – is the main day to celebrate Christmas. We have often spent the evening at my FIL’s but he lives 15 minutes away, so I would not call that traveling. Last year we went to Florida – our flight was on the 24th, so we missed Christmas. On the 25th we found ourselves at a diner in Sebastian eating American pancakes for breakfast. This year we will celebrate Christmas in our new home – needless to say, I am very much looking forward to it.
Is it a religious or spiritual holiday?
Christmas is a religious holiday obviously but I am not religious at all. Our family’s Christmas celebrations do not have any religious traditions attached to it. Nevertheless, I am a member of the Lutheran Church which is the primary state religion in Finland. This year I did go to church to sing Christmas Hymns but I found that it was too sombre for me. It was supposed to be in English but over half of the hymns were in Finnish! What I’d like would be a sing-a-long of cheery Christmas Carols instead.
Is there a gift exchange?
Yes there is! My mother is very partial to gifts, so it’s fruitless trying to break the tradition. Besides it’s fun to buy gifts for others. I try not to buy anything one doesn’t need. I have found that my favourite presents to get are things you can eat or gift cards. In Finland presents are given on Christmas Eve – in the evening. Santa himself comes over to bring the gifts. I think the last time we had a Santa was two-three years ago but now the kids are so old that there’s no need.
How long does the celebration last?
I start decorating at the end of October, starting with lights to light up the darkness we are enveloped in. So for me it goes on for months. The high point being Christmas Eve. After the 26th I’m so over Christmas and I usually like to take down all the decorations before Christmas Eve. The lights stay on though.
Fellow blogger from sparksfromacombustilbemind added one question which I’m adding now too.
Do you have any traditions that you carry on year to year?
Yes – watching the movie Holiday. I absolutely love that movie. Also the first Home Alone movie is great for Christmas but we don’t watch it every year. On Christmas Day our family lazes around the house – maybe a walk will come into question, but nothing more than that.
What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?
I am grateful that I didn’t have too many plans for the weekend. Which meant that I was able to start wrapping gifts and bake. And as you can guess by now, I am looking forward to Saturday – Christmas Eve. I am also looking forward to my holiday starting this Friday. One thing I plan to do is finally catching up on all the blogs I follow.
All these photos are from Helsinki’s Christmas Market – Tuomaanmarkkinat. As you can see, it’s very dark this time of year. The Market will close after the 22nd, so you still have a few days to visit and soak up the Holiday spirit.
Let me know what your favourite holiday is in the comments below or write your own Share Your World post. Meanwhile, I’d like to wish you a Very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!