Christmas is full on in Helsinki! Seasonal lights and Christmas decorations are out and bring sparkle and glow into our grey winter darkness. Snow is yet to come, we all hope to get a white covering for Christmas, fingers crossed.Every year I tend to go for a walk in Helsinki city centre to see the Christmas lights and to get into the holiday mood. Come and join me on the seasonal walk in Helsinki!Let’s start at the Christmas Street of Aleksanterinkatu, the main shopping street in the heart of the city. This year the Christmas lights were turned on for the 68th year in a row. Originally it was the shopkeepers of Aleksanterinkatu who initiated the tradition back in 1949 in order to bring light and hope to residents, who were recovering from the war. These traditional Christmas lights have been unchanged for as long as I can remember.Some of the side streets around Aleksanterinkatu and the Esplanade have also been decorated with beautiful Christmas lights and gigantic chandeliers creating a very royal-like atmosphere.I found a hidden gem at Vanha Kauppakuja, also known as Mummotunneli, where the facades of the inner courtyard have been illuminated with lights changing colour from yellow and pink to green and blue.By Kluuvi shopping centre I found a huge snow lantern, how cool is this!The abundance of Christmas Markets bring plenty of light and joy into the city. My absolute favourite Christmas market is at Senate Square with the striking white Helsinki Cathedral standing up high on top of the hill. Hundreds of charming stalls in pastel colours, a huge Christmas tree in the middle of the square, seasonal lights, and a traditional carousel added with magical ambiance make a perfect place to soak up Christmas spirit and indulge in delicacies.The small streets in the historical part of Helsinki in Tori Quarters are very cute with pastel houses and festive lights.Helsinki Market Square right by the sea has received very traditional lights with Helsinki Sky Wheel glowing purple in the horizon.Again this year Esplanade Park is decorated with thousands of beautiful lights, and the statue of J. L. Runeberg, the national poet of Finland, is accompanied by golden reindeer and a silver Christmas tree.Passing by Stockmann department store is always a pleasure this time of the year. They have decorated their entrances with plenty of festive lights and Christmas trees. They also have stunning decorations inside the department store, including a “floating” Christmas tree and festive lights stretching from the bottom floor all the way up to the glass ceiling of the top floor.Every year Stockmann also puts a lot of effort on their Christmas window in the corner of streets Aleksanterinkatu and Keskuskatu. This is definitely a must-see and gathers huge crowds. This is a long tradition and I can clearly remember being totally thrilled about the magical Christmas windows when I was a child.This year the main street of Mannerheimintie has received brand new Christmas lights with light poles lining both sides of the street. I heard that next year these lights will be upgraded to something a lot more spectacular. Cannot wait!Many city centre shopping centres such as City Centre, Forum and Kamppi also host beautiful seasonal lights and Christmas decorations worth seeing.
What is also interesting is that Christmas cribs from different parts of the world are on display in shop windows and churches in Helsinki city centre.And of course there is so much more to Helsinki at Christmas time. Come, explore and share your experiences with me! What are your favourite places at Christmas time?
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