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Holiday reminder: Christmas shortens opening hours, changes transport schedules

Finland winds down as the country heads into Christmas.

Store opening hours vary depending on region and company. Image: Toni Pitkänen / Yle

Christmas is the busiest time of the year for Finland's grocery stores, and these days retail chains strive to keep their doors open for as long as possible during the holiday period.

This means that there will be regional and store group-specific differences in the opening hours of grocery stores over the coming days.

For example, about 100 S-Group chain outlets will be open 24 hours a day over Christmas while some of the K-Group's Citymarket and K-Market stores will stay open until midnight on Christmas Eve.

The K-Group has said that the busiest time for its outlets is usually between 1pm and 3pm on 23 December.

The opening hours of gas stations also vary by regional and by company, although some of the S-Group's ABC network of stations as well as Neste's outlets will be open around the clock.

Meanwhile Lidl's stores will be open nationwide on Christmas Eve from 8am to 4pm, but opening hours for St Stephen's Day vary depending on the store.

Alko closes at 12 noon on Christmas Eve

Finland's state-owned alcohol retailer Alko's stores are open on Thursday 23 December from 9am to 9pm and on Christmas Eve from 9 am until 12 noon, but will be closed on Christmas Day and St Stephen's Day.

National rail operator VR's trains will run on an elaborate system over the holiday period. Services on Thursday 23 December will operate according to a Friday schedule, while trains on the morning of Christmas Eve follow a Saturday timetable.

Services will become less frequent during the afternoon of Christmas Eve, and end completely at 6 pm. On Christmas Day, a reduced Sunday schedule will apply while St Stephen's Day services will operate according to a Sunday schedule, with some exceptions.

'Operation Snowflake' aims to help drivers

Long-distance bus services will also operate a holiday schedule, with the most accurate and up-to-date information available from the operators' own websites, such as Matkahuolto (siirryt toiseen palveluun) and Onnibus (siirryt toiseen palveluun).

The Automobile and Touring Club of Finland's 'operation snowflake' campaign, which aims to help motorists that run into trouble on the nation's roads over the holiday season, is running for the 53rd year. In the event of problems, drivers can call 0200 8080 or use the association's mobile app.