At Christmas, we focus on the important things in life: our loved ones and kindness. Helsinki offers experiences for a Christmas person who loves peace, kindness and good food all year round. The transition to the ambiance is aided by a friendly attitude towards others, every day of the year.
Christmas mornings begin with a hearty bowful of Christmas porridge. Carefully cooked or stewed rice porridge is a traditional Christmas breakfast, but it can be hard to find all year-round. The Kahvisiskot, which has been operating at Hakaniemi Market for more than 40 years, offers fresh rice porridge every day, from as early as spring all the way to Christmas.
In addition to rice porridge, Helsinki's porridge offering has developed in recent years, and delicious porridge is also offered at the Steelcut Nordic porridge bar on the ground floor of the Forum shopping centre. Despite its name, Steelcut Nordic only offers portions made from Finnish raw materials, specializing in steel-cut gluten-free oats. The porridge at Anton & Anton on Kapteeninkatu, on the other hand, is whole-grain oat-spelt porridge, which is served with delicious toppings such as: berry flavoured quark, caramel made from boiled condensed milk, seeds and muesli. This is not something a Christmas person can not fall in love with.
A more luxurious porridge breakfast is provided by Restaurant Albina on Aleksis Kivi Street, which offers three different porridges with numerous toppings at the porridge counter. Of course, rice porridge is available at Christmas, while other times of the year there is their oven-baked porridge. They also have other seasonally changing porridges such as whipped semolina and other fresh and fun concoctions. The day couldn't start better.
After Christmas porridge, it's time to hurry to the sauna. In the sauna, a Finn takes care of their body and mind holistically. Perhaps the secret to saunaing is why Finns are repeatedly the happiest people in the world. In any case, sauna is essentially part of Christmas.
The Helsinki-based Terhen sauna community organizes events in various saunas throughout the year. In events that draw on the traditional sauna culture, you will learn more about the well-being and health effects of the sauna. There are many saunas in Helsinki, Uusi Sauna, Löyly, Kulttuurisauna and Yrjönkatu swimming pool, where you can also take a dip in the pool. Yrjönkatu swimming hall has alternating timings between women's and men's swimming times.
Christmas gifts should be purchased all year round so that there is no rush or pressure to buy something unnecessary closer to Christmas. Good gift ideas for men can be found in the selection of the high-quality Finnish men's clothing brand Frenn. The award-winning brand is sold in a brick and mortar shop on Fredrikinkatu, where the couple who owns the store expertly advises gift buyers.
Gifts suitable for bookworms are located on the swaying shelves of the Nide bookstore, and in the adjoining Lokal gallery space you can admire very special, smaller or larger works of art. An admirer of Nordic design, on the other hand, can find amazing things at the flagship store of Iittala and Arabia on Pohjoisesplanadi.
With a one-stop shop tactic, the strategic gift buyer should head directly to Kämp Garden, the Mecca of Finnish fashion, and choose the most suitable gifts for their loved ones from the ample offering. It can even be hard to make up your mind because, since the iconic éN Hats shop takes a lot of time to fit hats - and there is such a wide range of colours to pick from.
On Christmas, ham is traditionally eaten in Finland. It is difficult to find a whole box of roasted ham and a box of swedes and carrots during off season. In that case, one must focus on the fish table that is traditionally served as an appetiser. Many brunches offer delicious herrings, but for the best gravlax sandwiches, you should head to the Hakaniemi Market Hall. Cold smoked or gravlax salmon on archipelago bread tastes best with a small pint of beer.
Although the actual blini season only begins after Christmas, they still belong on many Christmas tables. During spring in Helsinki, you can enjoy delicious fried buckwheat blinis in many classic restaurants, such as Restaurant Lehtovaara or Restaurant Elite in Töölö. The blinis are fried in a generous amount of butter and served with a variety of roe. Many people think that vendace roe is the best.
For the most authentic Christmas experience, head to a local pub in the evening to play board games. Bring a box of chocolates or marmalade with you. Order a bottle of red wine and set up a game of Monopoly – what better way to forget the hustle and bustle for a moment! Many locals would agree – this is the best part of Christmas.