St. Thomas Christmas Market opens in Helsinki’s Senate Square
Vendors question the merits of the move from earlier location in Esplanadi Park
The December 7th launch of the traditional St. Thomas Christmas Market saw the Christmas spirit make landfall in Helsinki’s Senate Square.
The more than 120 brightly-lit market stalls offering handicrafts, baked goods, and other Christmas specialities will sparkle in the square until “Raafael’s Day”, December 22nd.
“This market is tidy, wide-ranging, and atmospheric. There is food, drinks, toys, and clothes to be had here. And it is nice to see that various charity organisations are also represented here", a Spanish family enthused while exploring the square.
The father, Nacho, mother, Somnica, and daughter, Marialuisa have points of comparison, for the family have also inspected Christmas markets in Vienna, Budapest, Berlin, Bremen, Leipzig, and Tallinn.
“The only difference is that there are no people singing Christmas carols here, but the square is remarkably fine”, Nacho comments.
For Kaija Käppi, this is the tenth time she is acting as a vendor at the St. Thomas Christmas Market. Käppi has a real zoo in her stall, with animals from foxes to dogs and squirrels. “The first few times I was here selling flower decorations, but then I took to creating animals from the binding materials of the flowers instead. Each year I have a newcomer here in the stall. This year it is the flying cow.”
According to Käppi, moving the market from the Esplanadi Park to the Senate Square did reduce the number of visitors, at least on the opening day.
“Unlike in Esplanadi, which a natural transit site for people, nobody finds us here by accident. Here the customers have to come specifically for the market. But maybe they will gradually learn to find the place.”
Brothers Kari and Seppo Hyttinen offered passers-by chocolate buttons from their hut.
“The Finns have to be lured in. Otherwise they easily just stand and observe from further back.”
The brothers’ stall has chocolate on offer in the most imaginative forms and shapes.
“We get constantly new suggestions from the clients. At the factory we then discuss which ones could be realised. The latest additions to our collection are golf balls and guitars. Today someone suggested a billiards cue, ball, and rack.”
The St. Thomas Christmas Market continues in Helsinki’s Senate Square until December 22nd. The opening hours are Monday-Friday 10:00-19:00, Saturday 10:00-18:00, and Sunday 12:00-18:00.
Previously in HS International Edition:
St. Thomas Christmas market opens in Esplanade Park (8.12.2010)
Visit Helsinki: Christmas Markets in Helsinki
Christmas Markets (Wikipedia)
Visit Helsinki: St. Thomas Christmas Market