December 22, 2015

Christmas in Finland – more or less important facts

You hopefully already know that Santa Claus is from Finland. Maybe you have also heard that for most of the Finns, the Christmas Eve (24 December) is the most important day over Christmas. We gathered a couple more or less important facts about Christmas in Finland.

White Christmas

Christmas_snow_VisitHelsinki_Rami Hanafi_Viewmasters of Helsinki oy

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Rami Hanafi / Viewmasters of Helsinki oy

During Christmas, the average amount of snow is normally around 40 centimetres in Lapland, 30 centimetres in Central Finland and 10 centimetres in Southern parts of Finland.

Finns often hope to have a white Christmas – at least everyone seems to have golden memories from their childhood when “there was always snow during Christmas”. Especially in the Southern part of Finland the speculations whether the Christmas will be white or not, start already in the beginning of December.

Christmas trees

Christmas tree_Visit Finland_Jussi Hellsten

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Jussi Hellstén

Every year there are around 1.5 million Christmas trees in Finland: around 54 per cent of Finnish households have a Christmas tree. The Christmas tree is usually always a spruce.

Christmas greetings

Christmas_Santa Claus_Visit Finland_Raija Lehtonen

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Raija Lehtonen/ Visit Finland

Last year Finns sent 37 million Christmas cards. That’s around 6 cards per person.  Merry Christmas in Finnish is “Hyvää joulua” and in Swedish, Finland’s other official language, “God jul”.

Santa’s main post office in Lapland gets more than 30 000 cards and letters a day during the holiday season.


Christmas_Shopping_Visit Finland_Krista Keltanen

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Krista Keltanen / Visit Finland

Finns spend around 517 euros on Christmas. From this amount 311 euros is used to buy gifts. The most popular gifts are books, clothes, chocolate and other candies.

There are a lot of possibilities to give money or presents to charity during Christmas. One of the most traditional ones is the Christmas Kettle fundraising by the Salvation Army. Last year almost 900 000 euros together with Christmas packages of clothes and food was gathered for the Salvation Army.


Christmas_food_Visit Finland_Raija Lehtonen

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Raija Lehtonen/ Visit Finland

The most traditional Christmas food is baked ham: seven out of ten households buy the ham for the Christmas dinner. 93 per cent of the hams bought during Christmas are originally from Finland.

Other traditional Christmas foods are casseroles containing different vegetables including rutabaga, carrot and potato.  Also fish dishes are popular.

To sweeten up things a little, Finns usually enjoy rice porridge with spiced plum jam. Also self-made Christmas pastries and gingerbreads are popular.


Christmas_Sauna_Harri Tarvainen_Visit Finland

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Harri Tarvainen / Visit Finland

Sauna is an important part of Finnish Christmas. It is a tradition to go to the sauna on Christmas Eve. Luckily this is not too difficult for most of the Finns: It is estimated that there are around two million saunas in Finland, meaning that many households have their own.

Text: Anna Korvenoja

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