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Finland's 'First Dog' steals the show at holiday gift ceremony

As gifts of produce were presented to the presidential couple, their Boston terrier seemed to be the most excited. The annual event spotlights produce from around Finland.

In a long-running Finnish holiday ritual, President Sauli Niinistö and his wife Jenni Haukio have been presented with traditional Christmas gifts and greetings.

They were visited on Thursday at the presidential residence, Mäntyniemi, by this year's Finnish Lucia Ingrid Holm and her entourage, who sang for them. So did the Cantores Minores boys' choir from the Lutheran Cathedral.

Flowers and fish, ham and organic greens

The event has long been an opportunity to promote local products from around the country.

Forestry students gave them a Christmas tree, and florists brought potted tulips. The presidential household were also gifted with a ham from Vehmaa in the south-west and a large pike by fishermen from the island of Korpo in the archipelago.

The Finnish Karelian League contributed Karelian pies, while animal rights and conservation groups provided a basket of organic vegan products including vegetables and pulled oats. The latter was said to be particularly appreciated by Haukio, who is a vegetarian. The 39-year-old author married Niinistö in 2009, three years before he took office.

Meanwhile the couple's dog, a Boston terrier known as Lennu, stole the show. The five-year-old was barely able to restrain himself as the fish and ham were brought in ceremoniously. He was less enthusiastic about a vegan chew bone included in the organic basket.

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