Christmas in Finland – gloomy but beautiful

Finally it’s Christmas time! It’s been a crazy, busy fall so these holidays are really needed. “Luckily” I’ve done so many extra hours during the fall that I can stay out of the office till January, 13.

Yesterday I came to Tampere to enjoy the Christmas time with my parents. Here in Finland Christmas is a very traditional, and also quite a melancholic, time. Even most of our most beloved Christmas carols are gloomy songs telling about death, poverty and war.

For example last night I was humming a song which tells how “life lasts only a moment and it’s gloomy and sad”. The tone is happy, which makes the song even stranger.

During Christmas, we remember all the dead relatives and friends and have an eery constant feeling that all these good moments shall be over soon… Probably the national gloominess is due to the fact that Christmas takes place in December, when we have already suffered a couple of months of constant darkness and bad weather. Who could be cheerful at this point?!

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A ray of light we saw this morning. So special I had to take a photo of it… 😉

This said, I love Christmas. And it’s not that gloomy. It’s also time to really relax, enjoy good and happy moments with your loved ones (the gloomy side of me needs to add: if you have any left), read books, enjoy the snow (gloomy comment: if there is any) and to respect all the Christmas traditions – of which we have plenty! They deserve a post on their own, so now I’ll concentrate on the first one: finding the perfect Christmas tree.

In the old times Finnish people went to the nearest forest, cut a tree, brought it inside the house and decorated it. Voilà!

Nowadays it’s different, of course, at least if you live in a city. This morning my parents and I went to Lielahti, the commercial district of Tampere, to the place where we found our perfect tree last year.

Choosing the Christmas tree is always a very challenging task. The trees are too tall or too short, too bold or too “hairy”, too strange or too boring.

After carefully evaluating every single tree there, we finally found our perfect match! Now it’s waiting outside the house (we hope that nobody steals it in the night!) till December 23. Then we’ll bring it in and decorate it with all the traditional, very old decorations. A that moment the house fills with the smell of needles and Christmas can officially begin.

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