Hyvää joulua!

And so this is Christmas... Yesterday, as we ever have since the School began, we enjoyed our end of term Christmas Party. For Finns this is a double celebration, since this is so close to 6th December, Finnish Independence Day, Itsenäisyyspäivä.
We always hope that we may be blessed with the appearance of Joulupukki - ie. Santa Claus. This year it was a little bit more of a miracle than usual, since no one knew where Joulupukki's costume was, and only a desperate last minute dash to hire one saved the day.

Understandably, many more people come along than for our usual School Days; it's great to catch up with so many old friends. We don't simply guzzle food, there is some entertainment as well. It's varied from year to year; occasionally the adult classes have had a little friendly pressure applied and shown off some of their prowess in Finnish. I remember one year our class learnt the words of Joulumaa by heart (the Katri Helena song). However, some performances from the younger students are always guaranteed, and it turned out that there are some very nice voices around this year. School certificates were awarded and very well deserved.

Everybody brings something for the buffet spread, and a lot of people seem to have got stuck into some home baking this time around. There's no rule about bringing Finnish dishes, but there was certainly the odd korvapuusti and karjalanpiirakka jne. All very tasty and filling (now with a twinge of regret, since I stood on the scales this morning).

Finally we ran a raffle. Loads of prizes magically appeared on the day. I won two small prizes but so apparently did everyone else. Rob (oikealla, Jeanettin kanssa) did a great job as usual, down to solving a little problem which became apparent a couple of years ago;
of course the kids are keen to pick the numbers, and that time it was glaring after a while that people with duller coloured tickets just weren't winning anything. It had been like something out of David Attenborough: our happy ticket pickers were only going for dayglo reds and yellows. So now Rob is careful to make sure they pick the tickets blind :)

There we are. A lot of people deserve thanks for the work they put in for the School through the year, notably Heidi who organised this event. Many thanks to all, and to all our friends who came! I hope we can count St Mary's amongst them - we did our best to clean up afterwards, honest!

A last Christmas present for you, sort of (! - sorry if you don't go for this sort of thing) - I spotted this while trying to find that Katri Helena song on YouTube. This is a performance by one of Finland's many hidden secrets, the singer Jenni Vartiainen, of most of her well known songs, unplugged (to be honest they plug in a little bit towards the end), and they're beautifully played and sung.
Hyvää joulua kaikille!


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