This day of the year is always one of the busiest, because in Finland we celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, 24th December. We continue celebrating on 25th and also 26th, but the Eve is the main day for us. Every family has their own traditions of course, but some of then are the same in all Finnish homes.
1. We have christmas calenders, which start on the first day of December (except one specail calender which starts already on the first advent) and every 'window' has a picture, chocolate or a small gift
2. We decorate the house to Christmas spirit
3. We put Christmas lights outside, not super much but still some
4. We bake gingerbread and Christmas tarts, which are specially shaped sweets with plum jam and drink glog
5. We give christmas presents to our family, friends and neighbours and open them on Christmas Eve somewhere around the Christmas tree (or the couch more often)
6. And we also send cards and packets to the ones who are too far away (my family also sends a Christmas letter to all our foreign friends, but that's not typical in Finland)
7. On Christmas Eve morning/day we go to Church
8. We eat rice porridge and hide an almond in the kettle, the one who gets it onto his/her plate gets to make a wish
9. There's this TV show called ''Santa's Hot line'' where kids can call to talk and sing to Santa Claus, which is also a tradition to watch (and try calling!) almost in every house. After that they show Snowmann on TV which is a traditions as well as the 'Announcement of Christmas Peace' which they show live from Turku, Finland's former Capital.
10. We eat a big Christmas meal including casseroles, ham, different kind of fish and turkey, plus whatever the family chooses.
11. If there are kids in the house, santa Claus comes in the evening of 24th to give the presents. The Finnish story (read: the true one) goes that Santa -Joulupukki- lives in Korvatunturi, Lapland, and comes from there with his sleigh and reindeer and knocks on people's doors and asks 'Are there any good kids here?' - Onko täällä kilttejä lapsia? -. Finnish elves wear red an white costumes, sometimes with grey.
12. We buy or go to the forest to find a christmas tree and decorate it on Christmas Eve (my family) or before that (many other families)
13. On Christmas day we also have a big Christmas meal with family, and the same on Boxing day.
Many Finns go up North for Christmas, me and my family just stay at home or go to central Finland to visit our family, this year it's our turn to host.
I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and / or Happy Holidays!