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Pop up Xmas events enliven Helsinki for tenth time

The Helsinki district of Tapanila, among others, plays host to a number of unique little seasonal events this December with a "live advent calender". Each new day is celebrated with activities like caroling, storytelling and drawing, expanding on a format that was discovered in Germany.

Tapanilan kolmas elävän joulukalenterin pop up- tapahtuma pidettiin paikallisessa sisustusliikkeessä.
An interior decoration shop turned into a children's drawing workshop complete with visiting Santa on Saturday in Tapanila. Image: Suvi Vesalainen/Yle

A series of live, pop up advent events in preparation for Christmas is being organised for the tenth time in various capital city districts this year.

Each day of the advent calendar is celebrated with a unique performance or workshop. On Saturday, for instance, a local interior decoration shop was transformed into a drawing atelier where young children were encouraged to draw their gift wishes to be sent to Santa Claus.

"Individuals, associations and companies always book a time and place for some fun Christmas activity," says organiser Vesa Kinnunen of the Tapanila Society.

The format originated in Germany. A decade ago a local family brought the concept over to Finland, where a literary society started putting the happenings together.

Similar events are held across Helsinki, in districts such as Haaga, Käpylä and Pirkkola, and the cities of Askola and Tampere are also chiming in.

The pop up events need little but word of mouth to attract festive audiences – some two thousand in Tapanila last year – and many people are interested in helping.

Songs in the heart of the city

Pirkkolan naiset
Johanna Ketoniemi and friends in harmony. Image: Suvi Vesalainen/ Yle
The Pirkkola area is known for its network of detached houses in central Helsinki, but is a little-known district gem.

Local Johanna Ketoniemi and her four friends make up the stars of the third calendar hatch. The women's harmonised singing rings out for the neighbours to hear, while others are lured in by a service of mulled wine at 7 pm.

"This is such a fun event!" Ketoniemi says. "I've met neighbours today who I've never even seen before."

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