Finland Vacation: Short Recap

January 12, 2012 § 4 Comments

While living in New York City, we always retreated to Maine to Mr. E’s parents for the holidays since we dislike the city so much. After buying our house, we have changed our Christmas routine. Nowadays we typically – if two years can make a rule! – spend Christmas Eve at home. We have a Finnish-style Christmas: a big, festive dinner in the evening followed by gifts. We usually fit a sauna bath somewhere in there as well. Then, Christmas morning, we drive up to Mr. E’s family to open presents and spend a few days with them.

This year we replaced our usual summer Finland visit with a hiking trip to Britain, so we were looking into other possibilities to visit my family. Happily, a visit over the Christmas and New Year’s suited everybody.

The winter so far has been strangely snow free both in Massachusetts and in Finland. Three storms blew through during our visit, but only one brought any visible amounts of snow. We first visited the north of Finland (2 hours south of the arctic circle), where my parents and most of my family live.

Northern Finland mashup

A lot of family time and food. Some walking and shopping. Good times.

The latter half of our visit we spent in Helsinki. Although we were in town primarily to visit one of my sisters, we did have a chance to enjoy some of Helsinki’s design offerings: Helsinki happens to be the World Design Capital for 2012. We also were in Helsinki conveniently for the post-Christmas sales; never a bad thing. We visited a tractor-themed restaurant for the first time, as well as our favorite places.

Helsinki Finland mashup

Notice the himmeli mobiles on the store windows!

I was able to find a few items long on my shopping list:

  • A traditional Finnish knife, called puukko. Used for just about everything from filleting a fish to wood carving, puukkos are incredibly versatile and much sturdier than a box cutter or a utility knife. I’ve missed having a puukko for years. Now I have two. Thanks, mom and dad!
  • Felt slippers (huopatossut). Made from thick, felted wool, there’s few things warmer for chilly toes. LOVE!
  • Lapland-themed leather goods. In my childhood, the company Kaamospaja made these fantastic, lined leather mittens and slippers with Lappish-themed applications. I’ve long wanted more of their products, but haven’t been able to track them down. Now someone has a similar line. Hooray!

Home Jan 2012 mashup

Arriving home, we found everything in order – and more presents arriving. Our little potted fir tree appears to have survived on the back deck. Come spring, we’ll plant it.

(Note: I do not not publish sponsored content, or accept gifts or discounts to write about products. Blog posts are based on my personal opinion.)

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