Jylkkäri has gathered a checklist for what to take into account when planning your holidays in Finland.
Traveling: So most of Finland is on the go around Christmas time. This means that if you intend to travel by train, your ride is not only very likely late due to snow/wind/rain/any kind of weather, but also booked out far before your date of travel. If you are traveling with pets, you might already be too late.
So book your ticket well in advance or go by bus.
In any case, be prepared to end up sweating shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of other people and their children and pets. Ear plugs are recommended because of the annoying jingle tones ringing on just about every cell phone around you, and as you know, the Finns have plenty of cell phones.
Grocery shopping: To be done well in advance, also. Many shops are closed on Christmas day, Boxing day, the first of January and on Epiphany.
On the 24th of December, you had better do your shopping before noon. This is when you might with equal probability find either great discounts or empty shelves. Recommendable for the not-so-picky.
Small shops have more flexible opening hours than the big ones, so if your favourite Prisma is closed, you might want to check the Siwas and Sales nearby.
Alkos, however, have no flexible opening hours. Ever. So stock up.
Also take note that the discomforts waiting for you in the shops on days immediately before the holidays match those in the public transport system, plus there are plenty of kids screaming for the chocolate that’s blocking the already full isles in the shops.
If you like ham, though, it might be worth the agony to go to a store on Boxing day; the huge ones tend to be on sale then and Finns are often too stuffed to even think about buying them.
Partying: On Christmas eve, most people stay with their families and concentrate on the food. But on Christmas day and Boxing day it’s time for the drinks again. This is when the young adults who return to their childhood village once a year gather in the local bars they used to sneak into as minors. All are merry and mingling might get you a bunch of new friends.
Christmas in Jyväskylä: If you plan on staying in Jyväskylä and don’t really know what to do on Christmas eve, Kortepohja might be the place to go. Every year, IDESCO and the Student Union gather a group to plan an international Christmas celebration. In previous years, the party has taken place in Lillukka, Kortepohja, and that seems to be the location also this year.