There are some typical foods and drinks consumed in the Christmas season; they are listed here in Finnish and English:
kinkku – ham
porkkanalaatikko – carrot casserole
lanttulaatikko – swede casserole
perunalaatikko – potato casserole
perunat – potatoes
erilaiset kalat – different fish prepared as desired, usually salmon and/or herring.
rosolli – salad that includes radish and apple
jouluolut – Christmas beer
glögi – juice based Christmas drink
suklaakonvehdit – assorted Christmas chocolates
riisipuuro, sokeri ja kaneli – rice porridge, sugar and cinnamon
Christmas trees are popular, as they are in the US. Our tree does not have lots of fancy ornaments but it still looks nice. There are a few of the presents under the tree at the moment.
Christmas decorations are put up according to the desire of the individual.
Christmas lights are occasionally put up outside, but I have only seen white strands; inflatable lawn ornaments and flashing, multicolored outdoor Christmas decorations are rare.
Remembering the deceased is an important part of Christmas for many people. It is common to go to the cemetery on Christmas Eve and light candles, which are left around the gravestone.
Going to Sauna on Christmas day is very common.
There are usually many opportunities to go and sing Christmas songs somewhere or listen to Christmas concerts. Many people attend at least one of these.
Going to church on Christmas Eve is as common here as in the US.
Visiting and having visitors in the days around and on Christmas is typical. My host family has visited or been visited by coworkers, cousins, family, and friends.
Santa, who lives in Lapland, comes in the evening on Christmas Eve. He enters using the front door, like a normal person.
Gift giving is common. It is, perhaps, less of a big deal than it is in the US because it is customary to bring a gift whenever you go to visit someone. The presents under the tree are usually opened in the evening on Christmas Eve.
On New Year’s Day, fireworks are set off. Many people either get some for themselves, watch those set off by others, or both.
Thank you to my host brother for helping me compile this list.
I hope that you would have a blessed Christmas and a pleasant New Year!