Thursday, 24 November 2011

Christmas is almost here!

It's official. I am going to Finland for Christmas and New year. The downside is that Skywalker can't afford to come with me. To be honest the only way I can afford it is because my parents are paying for the flights.

Last year I had my first London Christmas since moving to London permanently. It was very different to the way my family spend Christmas. Not bad, just very different. I think I had a bit of a culture shock. We stayed at the flat that Skywalker shares with his dad. The biggest difference between a British Christmas and a Finnish Christmas is which day is celebrated as the most important one i.e when the presents are opened! By Finnish standards Christmas eve is climax of Christmas. All preparations are finished by Christmas eve. The perferably real, carefully decorated Christmas tree sits in a central spot in the living room as the central visual point to be seen by all. Our family follows quite a traditional christmas eve routine. Christmas Eve morning is filled with anticipation as the hours are counted until the presents can be opened. Some people will be still frantically running around shopping centres trying to find the last presents. In our home it is a laidback affair. Everything is done by the night before orchastrated by my mother, the master of organization. The traditional Finnish stuff doesn't begin until lunch time when you have the option of going to the sauna before having rice porridge with sugar and cinnamon. The tv might be on but we usually turn it off on this holiday and listen to seasonal radio and all the cheesy songs that usually make our teeth grind. After lunch some of us might scamper to our rooms to finish off packing gifts. We usually put on our sunday best and I love to make an effort and put on a lovely dress. The main event is Christmas eve dinner. The table is set with the traditional Christmas oven baked ham covered in mustard, boiled potatoes, beetroot salad, gravlax and casseroles with carrots, sweetened potato.  Me being a vegetarian I don't partake in consuming all of the traditional food but everyone else seems to love it. Mulled wine with raisins is a big treat for me. We eat and socialize in candle light for hours and enjoy the snowy view from our dining room window.

Around nine pm we move into the living room absolutely stuffed towards the chocolate trays and the presents that have usually "magically" appeared into a sack in front of the christmas tree. I will post some photos while I'm in Finland to give you a first person view into a Finnish Christmas.

Now my friends I am sorry but I will have to leave you to go back to learn my lines for the pantomime that I'm performing before I can enjoy wintery Finland.

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