Christmas is the holiday saturated with traditions. I bet that many of the christmas traditions on these latitudes are quite common, even though everybody have the one and only right and unique way of practicing the traditions.
For me the christmas starts on December 23rd. That's the day when I travel to my christmas destination, and that's the day when the last minute panic sneaks in - this year was no exception: I was knitting against time, but I managed to finish the last pair of mittens during the 3-hour train journey.
In Finland the Christmas Eve is the big day. In the morning the christmas tree enters the building. The youngest ones are responsible for decorating the tree. At 12 o'clock the "Christmas peace" is declared in Turku, and after that we'll have lunch. In my family lunch is the big meal, thanks to my practical mom: some years ago she got fed up with being starved the whole day and eating too much on the Christmas Eve supper, so for the sake of digestion we have the heavy meal already on daytime.
The afternoon crawls slowly by taking naps, drinking coffee and walking in the snow (yes, we actually had a white christmas, wohoo!). When the sun sets you can truly start expecting the Santa. Well, this year we had to call and cancel the Santa, because my nephews were really ill, but luckily the elf was kind enough to note us by ringing the doorbell when he left the presents to the door. After opening the presents the evening continues with sauna, rice porridge and mulled wine, glögi. Sometimes between blue cheese and ginger cookies my brother sneaks out to take care of Santa business for couple of relatives living in the neighborhood.
The Christmas Day, December 25th has no special agenda - just mellow atmosphere, reading the books that Santa brought, eating the same food for the second time, picking the best pralines from the chocolate box.
On the second Christmas Day, Boxing Day, it's time to get reactivated. We may have sauna as a first thing in the morning (that's quite heavy even for a Finn), go visit friends and relatives, eat the same food for the third time and in the evening it's time to go out dancing, Tapanintanssit.
On December 27th the life turns back into the normal tracks. The christmas food is done for the year, only the bad liqueur pralines are left in the chocolate box and you'll start figuring out how to get rid of the yummy chocolate on your waist. Bye bye christmas, see you next year!