December 5, 2016

With just over a few weeks to go until Christmas, we spoke with Finnish blogger, Miia Matala-aho to find out her favourite things about this time of year: from long walks with family on Christmas Eve to baking delicious pastries at home.

UO: Do you have any quirky Christmas traditions?

My family has a tradition to go out for a long walk together after breakfast on Christmas Eve. My friends find this weird as Christmas for them is all about relaxing, haha! But to me it feels even better to return home and spend the rest of the day indoors once I’ve been out in the cold air first.

UO: What is the first thing that you do in preparation for the holiday season?

I always decorate my room with fairy lights once it starts getting darker. I also keep them long after winter and wouldn’t want to take them away even during the summer – they’re so atmospheric, I love them so much!

Shop: Firefly String Lights

UO: What is the festive treat that you can’t say no to?

Chocolate, always! On second thought though, pretty much every Christmas treat ever. In Finland we have so many wonderful Christmas foods like rice porridge, ginger bread cookies and plum pastries (these star-shaped treats made of puff pastry dough and plum jam) that I would be crazy not to enjoy them as much as I can around Christmastime.

UO: How do you like to spend time with family and friends in the colder months?

I love to spend time at home wrapped up in warm blankets, sipping a cup of tea and watching movies or my favourite series. I also cook with my friends and family a lot, that is definitely one of my favourite pastimes during winter.

Shop: Heather Grey Jersey Duvet Cover Cosy Folk Pattern Grey Socks

UO: How do you decorate your space for the cosy Christmas period?

Apart from all the fairy lights I’ve got in my room, I light up some candles and pile up cosy blankets and pillows on my bed. Some fresh flowers are always a nice touch, Christmas or not.

UO: Where are your favourite places in Finland to experience a ‘Winter Wonderland’?

Basically anywhere in Finland! If there is snow, any forest or lake looks absolutely gorgeous. And we have a lot of those here!

Shop: Ribbed Cropped Turtleneck Top

UO: What are the items that are always on your Christmas list?

Chocolate and plane tickets to some faraway country. I’ve never yet actually gotten the latter though, but you gotta stay optimistic, right?

UO: What is your favourite thing to cook at this time of year?

During the winter I love to cook warm comfort foods like soups and bake all kinds of baked goods like bread and vegan quiche. As for breakfast, anything with lots of cinnamon in it will do. Cinnamon is the ultimate food to feel Christmassy to me.

Shop: Kimchi Blue Open Ivory Cardigan Dr Denim Plenty Black Skinny Jeans

UO: When shopping last minute for a gift, what is always a safe option?

If I was last minute shopping for my friends, I would probably get them their favourite treats and some clothing to keep them warm out in the cold like socks, mittens or a nice scarf. Another one of my go to gift ideas is to buy a jar and fill it with pieces of paper that you’ve written compliments to the person receiving the gift on. You can also include some of their favourite candy in the jar. It’s a really cheap gift and yet everyone I’ve ever given one has abolutely loved it.

UO: Do you have a favourite Christmas decoration?

A Christmas tree is a must. Christmas just isn’t the same without one! Also living here in Finland, I always wish it would snow for the holidays. A white Christmas with snow banks everywhere lifts the Christmas spirit like nothing else.