For those of us who are expats, family and friends at home love a little glimpse in our lives up North, and Christmas gifts from Finland are always a welcome novelty. For those of us who have moved here with our family and we want to strengthen our relationship with the new home in Finland, or just for those Finland-enthusiasts in your life – this is a collection of gift ideas of Finnish items or things that are super useful to have when (living) in Finland. Especially with winter in mind.
One more thing: while there are plenty of direct links included in this post (the majority can be found all around Helsinki and even the airport quite easily), but I always want to encourage you to look for used and second-hand items as well. I know for gifts of any kind it’s not the first thing that comes to mind, but in the name of sustainability awareness, we should change that mindset.
Read my guide on Second-hand shopping in Finland here!
Cooking and home
Finnish design goods are ever so present in many Finnish homes, and if you want to add a little something to your own, or gift a small piece of Finland, here are some of my favourite pieces. The selection is timeless and hopefully, you find something for everyone.
This wooden coffee spoon and bag closer is one of the first functional Finnish design pieces that I found so fascinating – so simple yet genius. It’s a small and inexpensive gift for any coffee lover.
Reindeer print tea towel
This hits two birds with one stone: Lapuan Kankurit is a wonderful Finnish textile brand that is well-known for its high quality, Teemu Järvi is a local artist whose prints of the local flora and fauna have taken over the country by storm. Either of those are a lovely gift to give, and both together – perfection.
Helsinki is my Home book
One of the most beautiful books in my opinion, and a truly inspirational read for anyone interested in Nordic interior. The book takes us through some Helsinki apartments, and also includes some city tips. Highly recommend!
Alvar Aalto bowl
Another piece of timeless design, that fits in every home and is available in tons of colour as well. I got this as a gift from a dear friend just lately and I love it. You can use it as a bowl or a candle holder, but in any way it’s just beautiful and classy.
Marimekko Oven mitts
Marimekko items are the soft entranceway to Finnish design, and the homeware line with the bold prints is ideal for those (like me) who shy away of wearing them. And who doesn’t need a nice pair of oven mitts?
Iittala Ultima Thule glasses
The Ultima Thule line by Iittala is one of my favourites and a modern classic in many homes. You can’t go wrong with these, if you want to get the set of champagne or wine glasses, or just the small candle holder – any are usually very welcome.
Come to Finland Calendar
My mum loves to gift calendars, and I get it: they look nice in the home and they are also around all year with something new to look at. The Come to Finland calendars are cool retro Finland posters, that inspires to travel up North.
Donut candle holder
My favourite discovery of the Habitare design fair is the oak donut handle holder which was designed by the winner of Young Designer of the year. It’s so suble and Finnish, and wonderfully depicts my love for donuts and candles alike.
I don’t know anyone in Finland who doesn’t have a soft spot for the Moomins, and the mugs are a staple in every kitchen. My favourite is the “True to its origins” line, and from the coffee pot to the bowl and of course the mug, these are just so magical.
Skincare is important
And for everyone – not just the ladies! Here are three of my favourites that I have converted so many of my friends to over the years. Especially during winter, it’s important to take good care of our skin, face and hands – basically any bodypart that is likely to be exposed to the elements. For those who will come to visit or those who are new to the real winters, proper skin care can make a huge difference.
Pumpuli Hand Creme
Protecting our hands is essential – there are always moments where we have to take our gloves off for a bit, and the general dryness of the winter climate can be really harsh on the hands. I always carry a hand lotion with me, to protect my hands before I go outside, or to soothe if it’s already too late.
Lumene Face Oil
When it gets below freezing point, the moisture in our skin can freeze and cause it to crack. I’ve learnt this the hard way. The way to solve this: use an oil-or wax-based moisturizer. While wax is really heavy duty, this Lumene face oil is a very lightweight option for everyday use, and it’s one of my favourite products for winter.
Hetkinen Lip Balm
One of my favourite discoveries and lovely gift, is this lip balm (or anything) by Hetkinen cosmetics – all natural, both the product and the wooden packaging, and a wonderful product. I like the tinted lip balm, but this one with pine and coffee is a lovely Finnish gift.
To wear and be cozy
I feel like many of these things are gifts that I would have hated as a kid but love as an adult. These are my favourite Finnish pieces that I also enjoy gifting, and they are a real crowd-pleaser.
Especially socks are something that most grown-ups are super excited about these days. If you wear them just on the couch while watching a movie, you put them on in your boots on a cold day out – woolly socks are a must-have. These are from the Helsinki woollen socks factory and they are awesome.
I got these from a dear friend some years ago and they are still one of my ever favourite gifts! The greeting mittens are fun, and also pretty handy when you have a sore throat or are not feeling social. They come in a bunch of different languages as well.
My favourite piece of this winter is this cashmere headband by sustainable brand from Tampere, Store of Hope. Super soft and lovely, and with being onesize a lovely gift option. Many colours available, too!
Food and drink
Who doesn’t like food, and those who appreciate a nice drink will be happy with any related gifts – I have selected a couple of lovely Finnish items that will make any foodie or drinks connaisseur happy.
Some other ideas that are not listed below:
- Lumikarpalo – icing sugar covered cranberries, a favourite from all Christmas markets
- Cold-smoked reindeer – I’m not allowed to come home to my dad without it – it is sold vacuum-packed and keeps very long, is easy to transport and such a unique, Finnish thing to gift that intrigues many
- Porridge “kit” – put together a little set of your favourite porridge (rice is nice during Christmas time, my personal preference is 4-grain porridge), with a small pack of oat milk, some berry jam and cinnamon – the perfect little breakfast gift
Glögi is the ultimate warm drink during the holiday season in Finland, and while I personally find most of them too sweet, this seabuckthorn one has a nice acidity to it while still so smooth and delicious. Along with an optional bottle of white wine to heat up with, this is a lovely small gift.
The Arctic cloudberry is unique to the Nordics and is only found for a couple of short weeks in the summer. This is something delicious and Finnish, that is also something very special. Gift this along a piece of leipäjuusto (Finnish bread cheese) if you can, and you have a lovely little present!
Eat Finland book
A culinary journey through Finland – this charming cookbook takes you through all of Finland and explores traditional recipes with a modern interpretation. So beautiful to look at and a lovely inspiration for everyone living in Finland who’s a fan of cooking!
Anton&Anton Food bag
For those who love cookind and trying new recipes, ordering them a food bag can be a lovely idea that’s something different – and can even be an invitation to cook together some time. Like this local one from Anton&Anton, other suppliers are Sannan Ruokakassi and Food Market Herkku.
Finns are known to be the world leaders in coffee consumption, and the variety of coffee and local roasteries stand for that. The Christmas coffee by Kaffa roastery was a successful gift last year, and I’ll be giving that as well this year.
The Napue gin is not only one of the best gins for gin and tonic, but also another Finnish staple – and it makes a great gift, especially those abroad or back at home who are just dipping into Finnish culture. Gift it alongside some tonic water, fresh rosemary and cranberries and you have it.
Some of my favourite little bits and bobs to give or to get, that are great to have every day, and just some random ideas that don’t necessarily fit any category.
Pentik candle glas
Ever since I saw this, it has been one of my favourite things: in the bottom part you can put any decor you want, like natural bits such as moss or twigs, and then have a tea light on top. You can customise this for the person according to what they love and the season.
It’s no secret that I love my Kupilka kuksa, the traditional Finnish cup that is traditionally made of wood is something that comes in handy during any outdoor adventure. It makes a beautiful gift!
This is such a charming book with heart-warming sauna stories, and a wonderful addition to any coffee table or book shelf of sauna lovers. I already feel like turning mine on right now!
Some of the best places to shop for Christmas gifts in Helsinki:
…and last but probably most importantly: Experiences and time.
While material gifts can be thoughtful, clever and delicious, there’s probably nothing coming more from the heart than spending time together. Here are a few ideas on how to gift that:
- A cooking workshop – we recently went to a Portuguese cooking workshop at Petiscaria, and it was one of the nicest activities ever. While there are more coming soon, you can also get inspiration for example through Airbnb Experiences
- Museum card – the Helsinki museum card gives access to 300+ museums all around Finland and can be a lovely gift – and make a monthly museum date out of it. Most museums offer gift cards or advance tickets as well.
- A dinner or brunch date – probably not the most unique idea, but for food lovers and people in your life that you love but don’t see often, it can be the most wonderful gift to spend time together and catch up over a delicious meal. Dinner date ideas for Helsinki, right here!