Joulua (Christmas)

Finland is famous for Christmas, this we know, but how does an American couple with minimal friends celebrate this most festive of days in Rovaniemi?  Let me show you!

Step 1: Moomin-themed chocolate advent calendar!  Because what’s better than getting a little chocolate infusion every day to brighten up the season, eh?!

Brandon and Pikku Myy Pikku Myy finished!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Step 2: Tiny, LED-lit tree with a smattering of Finnish ornaments!  Finns have a couple of national crafts, and straw-ornaments are one of them.  I bought an assortment of small ones for our tree, and then a few felted items (another of Finland’s favorite pastimes), and Brandon sprung for a Marimekko bird ornament.

IMG_4269Step 3: Visit to the one-and-only REAL Santa Claus, who lives on the Arctic Circle boundary just north of town!  This is the photo that Brandon and I took with the Big Man – Brandon was slightly less than enthused to be there (notice how he refused to actually sit next to the man), but I clearly made up for it in my excitement!

Visit to Santa!Step 4: Food!!  We had a sort-of advent countdown of reindeer dishes leading up to Christmas:  (1) reindeer tenderloin nachos on the 21st (to mark the first day of vacation, and sooooo good),

Reindeer nachos!

(2) reindeer chili on the 23rd and 24th (b always makes a ton),

Reindeer chiliand (3) a reindeer roast for the holiday itself!  We also made cauliflower, potatoes, and a traditional Finnish carrot and rice casserole thing.  And Brandon went all-out on our European adventure foods and made Yorkshire pudding, which is nothing like what it sounds like, but was more like muffin cups of french toast…

Christmas Dinner!

For dessert I made apple turnovers, and the Finnish joulutorttu (Christmas pastry) with puff pastry and prune filling.

Apple turnoversJoulutorttuAnd we had some of the mint-chocolate cookies I’d made on the 24th.

Mint-Chocolate Cookies!I’ve also become somewhat obsessed with glögi, so anytime I wanted something warm to drink (have I mentioned how cold it is here?), I would bust out this spicy and sweet beverage.

Brandon and I didn’t really do presents for each other this year, so the only things we actually had to open were a few small items from friends in the states, and a pair of presents from my Rovaniemi friend Minna (she gave us some truly awesome hand-knitted Finnish socks!), so we got to really focus on the food and TV aspects of the holiday.  Finns are self-proclaimed couch potatoes for the week between Christmas and New Year’s, and this is one tradition I’m not having a difficult time adopting.  I did make Brandon kick-sled with me to the store for supplies, though, despite the negative temperatures.

Brandon's kicksledding action shotSo our Finland Christmas is over, but it was a really good year.  We hope you all had an equally excellent holiday, wherever you are.  :)

The view out our bedroom window

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