What to Expect: Celebrating Christmas in Helsinki

For religious folks, it is the most wonderful time of the year—and by “it” we mean Christmas in Helsinki. Even the most tourist-averse Helsinkians have to admit that Helsinki at Christmas is a pretty spectacular sight, with Christmas trees, open ice rinks, fancy lights on balconies, department-store window displays, snow and other holiday attractions popping up around the city.

Christmas in Helsinki street

Courtesy of Petteri Sulonen

Finnish people believe that Santa Claus or Father Christmas lives in the north part of Finland called Korvatunturi (or Lapland), north of the Arctic Circle (Swedes and Turkish will respectfully disagree).

In Finland, everyone hopes to be at home for Christmas, including fishermen who try to get their boats into the harbour by December 21st, St. Thomas’ Day. Christmas Eve is very special, when people eat rice porridge and plum fruit juice in the morning. 

While the weather may be getting cooler, Helsinki’s Christmas season is just warming up. Plan your holiday season with our little guide to Christmas in Helsinki: Below, you’ll find practical information about the city’s services and you can check out above Helsinki category to select anything you feel like doing in Helsinki on Christmas and let the FINNBAY charms navigate you where you want to be.

Helsinki city services such as health centers, are mostly closed Christmas holidays (24 to 26th of December). Health advice is available free of charge 24 hours a day, in which you can call 09 10 023. In life-threatening situations, call 112.

The health center emergency department on duty urgent public holidays, at 8-22. At other times, adults can seek Haartman and Maria hospitals and children the Children’s Hospital emergency room.

  • Adults (16 years and over): Haartman Hospital, Haartmaninkatu 4, Building 12, tel 09 310 6323 1
    Mary’s Hospital, The Mutton Street 16, Building 15 C, a courtyard, tel 09 310 6746 8
  • Children: Children’s and young people’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital, Stenbäckinkatu 11, tel 09 10 023.
Christmas market at Senate Square. Courtesy of Aarni Heiskanen

Christmas market at Senate Square. Courtesy of Aarni Heiskanen

Public transport ends on Christmas Eve afternoon, for the most part and will continue again on Christmas Day 25 December, at 11:00.

The Helsinki metropolitan area buses, metro and trams will continue on 24 December until around 16:00. On Christmas Day, services start at about 11:00.

Libraries for the most part still open on the eve of Monday’s Eve on 23 December, but they will close earlier than usual. All libraries are on Christmas will have holiday break from 24 to 26 December. On New Year’s Eve libraries will close earlier than normal hours and it will stay closed on New Year.

Schools are on holiday in most of the Christmas holiday from 21 December to 6 January 2014.

Christmas events

Visit our events section to see what is going on in Helsinki on Christmas. There will be special Christmas events in the city. Christmas Market will be opened on Senate Square at 10:00 in the morning.

Square-Blocks will host free Christmas concert. It will be on Aleksanterinkatu 28/Unioninkatu 27 starting at 19:00. All events are held in Finnish.

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