As everybody else, I have to share some Christmas thoughts too…
I could try to compare differences between Finnish and French Christmas habits, like the depressive Finnish Christmas songs and the horrible French Santa-Claus decorations (or maybe they are american first…?), but I am terrible on Christmas traditions!
I have a lot of friends for who Christmas is Holy. They have always celebrated it with their families, at home, without strangers (sometimes not even boy- or girlfriends), and for them is hard to imagine spending Christmas somewhere else.
We used to celebrate Christmas with my family when we were children with my sister, but even then, the ‘traditions’ changed often; Sometimes we were in France with our French grand parents and cousins (sometimes it was only me and my sister, sometimes our parents came with us) , sometimes we were in Finland with our parents or our Finnish Grandma and cousins… When we started to have boyfriends they came at home for Christmas or I went to their families.
And then I moved to Paris.
On some Christmas I was working and celebrating it with my colleagues in work, once my mom and sister came from Finland…
Then my sister moved to Paris too. Once I went to Finland and spent the Christmas eve with my mom and grand mom.
Then for several years we were having a “friends-Christmas” with all those friends who didn’t really have holidays and were stuck in Paris without their families. I liked that idea a lot, because everybody was bringing food and drinks, we were mixing Finnish, French and Caribbean Christmas habits and having good time together.
Last year for the starters we had creole ‘blood sausages’ (boudin créol) and ham, foie gras, grav-lax, roe….
But one tradition I was always missing from Finland was the Christmas Sauna. When we used to celebrate Christmas at home we always went to the sauna the whole family together and put only lanterns and candles there. In Paris I could do Grav-lax, Christmas cookies, even have glögi each year if I wanted… But I couldn’t have the sauna.
This year I’m in Ivalo, and I have Santa Claus as neighbor, snow and all real Christmas feelings! And I have to say that for the first time in years I don’t feel any stress about Christmas and I’m happy to spend it here, in work, with clients who are as amazed about the place that I am. I realize now, that I’m in the tiny Ivalo-city, that the most stressing thing in Paris was all that commercial thing around Christmas. Everybody, all adds, tv, radio, clients in work….Were talking about the food for Xmas, about presents and shopping… And this year I don’t need to give present for no-one! What a happiness! 😉 Don’t get me wrong. Of course I like to give presents and make people happy, but I prefer to do that when I don’t feel that I NEED to do it.
Anyway, of course Paris was beautiful also, with all lights and decorations. But now, in Ivalo everything feels different. Snow makes a lot. And the Finnish way to put real candles and lanterns in stead of screaming green and blue Christmas lights… Also Finnish decorations are much more sober and natural.
Champs Elysées in 2011
Okay, I have maybe one thing that I’m going to miss from France for Christamas. Foie Gras. I just can’t nothing on the fact that how ever the way to do it, is disgusting, I love to eat it once a year!
Christmas table in Hotel Ivalo
I think next time I will feel the real Christmas magic and the happiness of giving presents, will be with some future children… After all, for me Christmas is especially a party for children and families.
But I hope you all will have a merry Christmas without stress and enjoy the people around you, whether they are family, colleagues, friends, clients, neighbors….. ❤