December in Helsinki is filled with holiday-themed events from marketplaces to bingo tournaments to Christmas brunches. 6th December is also Finland’s independence day, so there are plenty of events commemorating that special day. The days may be short in December, but Helsinki lights them up with its full calendar of activities!
Tuesday 3rd – Thursday 5th December
UniArts Helsinki’s Sound Art & Sonic Art students will fill SOLU (Bioart Society) with their work. The students exhibiting are Markus Tapio, Eetu Palomäki, Nóri Varga, Anna Prstková, and Ruben Kotkamp. The opening party is on Tuesday at 17:00. Free event.
Tuesday 3rd – Sunday 8th December
This is the third time that Kallo Collective is gathering performers to put on a six-day-long festival of physical comedy. The festival includes international performers from Mexico, France, Russia, and New Zealand, who will all perform at Cirko Centre of New Circus. Adult tickets start at 27,50€.
Tuesday 3rd – Monday 9th December
Helsinki University of Arts’ School of Theatre presents this artistic performance about humans’ interactions with weather and climate. The show will be an immersive experience conceptualised and realised by students of the dramaturgy programme. Tickets are 15-17€.
Tuesday 3rd December
What’s your ideal prize for winning a bingo tournament? Vegan Christmas ham (made of seitan)? If that sounds like a great prize to you, come participate in Pub Sirdie’s annual bingo tournament.
Wednesday 4th December
As one of film festival Rakkauta & Anarkiaa’s year-round events, Bio Rex presents an early showing of the film JoJo Rabbit. The film, directed by New Zealander Taika Waititi, is due for wide release on 10.01.2020. Tickets are 11€.
Pink Lemon bakery from Lohja is dropping by Helsinki’s Vegekauppa for a pop-up shop. They’re featuring their gingerbread cookies, donuts, chocolate truffles, and a special Finnish independence day treat.
Thursday 5th December
Restaurant and live music venue Cactus brings disco to the night preceding Finland’s 102nd independence day. The band Finntengs Sound System will perform amongst a multimedia spectacle. After the band, Cactus’s DJs will continue the party. Tickets are 5€.
Friday 6th December
Finland’s Independence Day
Finland existed as the Grand Duchy of Finland from 1809 until 1917, when it declared independence from the Russian Empire. This independence is celebrated every year on the 6th of December. The national holiday is celebrated by holding concerts, eating great food, and lighting blue-and-white candles. The president also hosts a ball at the official residence.
SkyWheel Helsinki, located right on the water near the central harbour market, is even better with a glass of bubbly. You can book an extra-long 18-minute ride on independence day that includes a glass of Veuve Clicquot Brut. This ride costs 24€, or you can get a non-alcoholic drink and ride for €16.
Saturday 7th December
Jazz Season at Garden by Olo has been bringing top European jazz musicians to Helsinki, and this is the final concert. The theme is due to 06th November, the previous day, being Finland’s indepedence day. Entrance is free, but book a table to have the full experience of dinner and a show.
Finnish Electronic Music Association (FEMA) is organising a free one-day festival for all lovers of electronic music. Acid Surfers, Saini Elisabet, Closet, Puoluehallitus, Arcdiv, and Levinsky will perform in Kalasatama’s Free City cultural space.
This event brings five punk acts to the stage at Maunula talo, located in the northern Helsinki neighbourhood of Maunula. The acts are Tryer, Hero Dishonest, Fun, Varjot, and Teini-Pää. The event is free and open to all ages.
Sunday 8th December
Join animal rescue agency Kulkurit and a few other similar agencies for a holiday market full of gifts and food. The proceeds will benefit the rescue agencies’ work. You can eat vegan hamburgers and other goodies while shopping for gingerbread houses, woolen socks, and whatever else the sellers bring.
Spend a relaxing Sunday afternoon improving your strength and gaining inner peace with Animalia PKS and yoga school Shanti. No previous yoga experience is required. All proceeds will go to support animal sanctuary Tuulispää. Tickets are 15€, register beforehand.
Sunday 8th & Sunday 15th December
Vegan restaurant OmNam is serving a plant-based brunch on two Sundays leading up to Christmas. It’s a Finnish tradition to celebrate “Little Christmas” in the month leading up to the 25th of December, and OmNam welcomes everyone to their Little Christmas celebration. Reserve a place for 32€-35€.
Monday 9th December
Both Finnish and international performers bring this stage show to life under the direction of Tuomo Railo. The show examines the concept of respect from the perspectives of individuals and society as a whole. Tickets are 29€, or 15€ for discounted groups.
Come listen to a strong lineup of speakers from creative and social industries. The ultimate goal is to share knowledge and ideas about how to form a new business model in the creative industry which strives for social change instead of just profits.
Tuesday 10th – Wednesday 11th December
Otava, a large publisher in Finland, is offering 50% off all of its non-student books on these two days. The store is located on Uudenmaankatu in a storybook-esque Jugend building. Free event.
Tuesday 10th – Wednesday 11th & Wednesday 18th December
For those who want to hear unique Christmas songs this holiday season, check out one of these jazz concerts. Jarkko Martikainen and UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra are visiting three churches around the city to perform their compositions. Tickets are 34€.
Thursday 12th – Sunday 15th December
Ana Teo Ala-Ruona and three supporting artists present a performance art piece about sex and environmental pollution. Drama, sound design, and costumes back up the words, which will be spoken in either English or Finnish depending on the performance date. Tickets start at 12€.
Thursday 12 December
Startup Circus 2019 / Pitching Competition & Art Exhibition
Startup Circus brings the best and most promising early-stage business ideas together to pitch to an expert panel. Teams from several local universities are presenting. The night will be rounded out by performing and visual arts. Free event, but register beforehand.
Singer-songwriter Hector and his eleven-strong band are touring Finland in December, ending with a concert at Helsinki’s Hartwall Arena. They’ll perform old favourites as well as rarely heard songs and brand new ones. Tickets range between 29,50 – 69,50€.
Friday 13th – Saturday 14th December
Sture Cafe Club is lighting up their stage for the seventh time this year with the help of Rubies Productions and Studio Shangri-La. Both nights have unique burlesque acts in store, with new names still being announced. You can also bring a small gift and participate in a secret Santa exchange. Single day tickets are 23€, two-day tickets are 42€.
Friday 13th December
Are you interested in archaeology, including new discoveries in the field? Tiedekulma at University of Helsinki is the place to hear about them. The evening will consist of eight presentations, with more details TBA.
Podcast Iso Kolmonen brings another Little Christmas celebration to Helsinki with this party at Cultural Centre Sähinä. There will be bingo, stand up comedy, a clothing swap marketplace, a DJ, and snacks. And of course there will be the Christmas classic, mulled wine! Free event.
For a new and different Friday night concert, try this lineup of three improvisational musicians. Singer Peach vaDelma hosts, and shares the stage with groups Pääskyt and Kallio, Sakset, Paperi. The audience can and should offer input which affects the music being played! Free event.
Saturday 14th December
Cafe Kuusijärvi presents a Christmas party for the whole family, with plenty of fun for both adults and children. Children can present their wishes to Santa Claus, adults can browse the shopping booths, and everyone can enjoy a traditional Christmas lunch. Free event.
Now in its fifteenth year, the Raskasta Joulua concert tour brings metal music to Finland’s Christmas. In a country known for both, what better combination? This year’s Hartwall Arena show features 12 big names as well as Helsinki Conservatory’s Young Singers. Tickets start at 49,90€.
Fazer is Finland’s largest bakery and confectioner, and their headquarters is located right outside Helsinki in Vantaa. Every Christmas, visiting there becomes even sweeter because you can meet Santa Claus, eat a holiday brunch, and take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage! Adult tickets are 15,50€, children’s tickets are 10,50€.
Sunday 15th December
For the 24th time, Seurasaari (an island in the Helsinki archipelago) is organising this family Christmas event. Children can walk along the path to meet Santa Claus and other characters, sing Christmas songs, and play fun traditional games. Free event.
Thursday 19th – Sunday 22nd December
Finnish singer-songwriter Anssi Kela is opening up as few artists do to give the audience a never-before-seen peek into his life story. This four-concert series is made up of live music, monologue, and film. Tickets (starting at 39,00€) are selling fast!
Friday 20th December
This indoor beach party brings summer to the depths of the Finnish winter. Pasila’s new mall Tripla plays host to the party. Taking care of music will be five international and eleven local artists, all playing danceable music such as house and techno. Tickets start at 49€.
Saturday 21st – Sunday 22nd December
Cultural centre Korjaamo’s Vaunusali is the location for this market full of vegan Christmas finds. You can find gift items such as handicrafts and art, as well as food items for the holiday table. The Korjaamo kitchen is also serving up a vegan Christmas brunch. Entry to the market is free.
Saturday 21 December
Another place to find great DIY Christmas gifts and vegan foods is Subcultural Centre Loukko. You can buy design and craft items from independent sellers, as well as “fish” made of vegan ingredients from Loukko’s staff. The Loukko cafe will be serving food and drink the entire time. Free event.
Actor and singer Vesa-Matti Loiri is one of Finland’s ten best selling musicians of all time. This holiday season he is touring the country, ending with a concert in Helsinki at Kulttuuritalo. Tickets are 39,50€.
This is the place to be for those who love musical throwbacks to the 90s and 00s. Dance the night away to music spun by 3 DJs while wearing the dress code of all white. Entrance is 10€, or you can book a VIP package from 70€-210€.
Ongoing in December
Cycles to Break is Linda Vuorenvirta’s second solo art show. The work on display, which is mostly digital illustration, aims to bring awareness to oppressive systems that are entwined in our culture. The venue for the show is Subcultural Centre Loukko in Kallio. Free event. From 4th until 28th December.