Finland Wins Christmas

22 Ways Finland Wins Christmas article shows with pictures that you won’t find anywhere more beautiful at this time of year. Most of those picture descriptions on the article are pretty accurate.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    If You Want the American Dream, Go to Finland

    The American dream — the notion of equal opportunity for all, the chance to pull yourself up by your boot straps and make something of yourself — is gone.

    Consider what Ed Miliband, the popular British Labour leader — and would-be Prime Minister — said to a conference on social mobility last year: “If you are born in a more equal society like Finland, Norway or Denmark, then you have a better chance of moving into a good job than if you are born poor in the United States.”

    This is a sad, depressing state of affairs for the U.S. and is becoming more true every day. But the reality is still not accepted by most Americans.

    The reason is obvious: Our education system is static and falling behind other advanced countries — an economic time bomb — whereas Finland is an educational superpower, the best in the west, according to the PISA studies of 470,000 15-year-old students from 65 countries, (conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

    A recent UN report ranked Finland the second happiest country in the world, behind Denmark, based on wealth, political freedom, strong social networks and an absence of corruption. The U.S. ranked 17th in national happiness among 156 countries evaluated for the study.

    Happiness scores tend to be tied into crime rates and rankings of economic inequality. The larger the gap between the one-percenters and the have-nots , the less happiness there is and the more crimes that will be committed.

    In Finland, Partanen says, there are no nationally standardized tests, inspections or league tables, no private schools or private universities and no fees. Competition is frowned upon; co-operation is king.

    Newsweek found that Finland was the “best” country in the world after examining living conditions in more than a 100 countries. The magazine measured factors such as education, health care, quality of life, economic dynamism and political environment.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Traditions of Finland bring warmth and light

    Culinary heritage

    Finnish culture, led by food, dominated our holidays, and it still does.

    for the holidays, and especially on Christmas Eve, California cuisine takes a backseat to Finnish culinary traditions.

    To understand why the holidays are so important to Finnish families – indeed, to everyone of Scandinavian background – consider the context.

    So many of my food memories of Finland are vivid summer ones – freshly smoked salmon, just-picked forest blueberries and moccasin-shaped Karelian pastries, all in a country so close to the Arctic Circle that the estival sun shines until midnight.

    In winter, the script is entirely flipped.

    Christmas Eve at a spread dubbed Joulupöytä.

    For our family, the feast begins with a smorgasbord: lox on homemade rye bread, cured herring, and rosolli, a pink-hued chopped salad of beets, potatoes, apples, carrots and pickles.

    The traditional centerpiece of Christmas Eve meals in Finland is the ham. One vintage recipe requires the home cook to pickle a whole ham, letting it soak in a brine bath for two weeks before baking it in a rye bread.

    Rather than do that, or order a Honeybaked ham, my parents take a different approach, making Karelian stew the crux of our meal.

    Simple sweets

    Dessert is simple: gingerbread cookies and those aforementioned freshly baked star pastries. Later in the night, adults pour warm glögg or maybe some viina; for the children, it’s time for presents.

    Joulutortut (Star Pastries)
    These pastries are traditionally made with prune jam, but you can use any flavor as long as the jam is very thick with fruit.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Finnish bread

    In Finland, bread is a very important food, served with almost every meal with many different types produced domestically.

    Rye bread (Ruisleipä or hapanleipä (lit. sour bread) in Finnish) is a dark, sour bread produced in quantity in Finland, where it is the most popular type of bread.

    Because traditionally wheat wasn’t as abundant as rye or barley, wheat is mainly used for baking of pastry, scones, pulla and nowadays is often combined with other types of flour


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