It’s official: Santa Claus has filled his burlap sack with gifts and is taking his reindeer-powered sleigh through the snow to spread Christmas cheer around the world.
For 30 years, Yle has filmed Santa starting his yuletide journey, which the European Broadcasting Union spreads throughout its public service network. Yle first broadcast Santa setting off on his sleigh in 1965, with the annual journey from Lapland becoming an Yle staple in the 1980s.
In Finland Santa Claus is known as Joulupukki (literally, Christmas goat in English). Kids here commonly receive a personal visit from the red-suited, jolly fellow at their homes on Christmas Eve.
But due to Santa's tight schedule, those visits are usually carried out by Santa surrogates who — often in exchange for a fee or home baked goods — carry out the tradition while dressed up as the hirsute icon in cities, towns and villages across the country.
Despite changing times and attitudes about snail mail, kids everywhere still love sending letters to Santa. Finland's Santa receives hundreds of thousands of letters sent from children around the world every year.