is in some ways more Nordic than Scandinavian. It can be clearly seen in the country's language, which is not of Germanic origin. The social values are still same the same, though, with subtle differences in etiquette and customs.
Whether you are visiting a Finnish home, or looking for that special Finnish gift to bring back, there is quite a collection of gift ideas available. Keep in mind that any token given is appreciated, but it shouldn’t be too valuable, as this can cause quite a bit of embarrassment.
Here are a few basic gift ideas ranging from affordable to more extravagant:
The Moomin Family
The much loved Finnish story book character Moomin, by Tove Jansson, has been immortalized (by Iittala) in porcelain bowls and plates, as well as in textile form by Ekelund. These are great gifts for collectors of all ages, and the books will still make an excellent gift to any child.
Going to the sauna is practically a way of life for the Finish people. It is an experience shared with family and friends, and even business meetings might move over to the sauna, where the conversation will be less formal. For this reason, gifts like a sauna wrap, brushes, thermometers and even linens will be an excellent choice.
The first of these designs dates back to 1881, when the first glassblowers came from Sweden to establish themselves in the village of Iittala. Itttala brings forth timeless clarity and originality in their work. Some of the designers include Aino Aalto, Kaj Franck and Tapio Wirkkala. Products include glassware, dinnerware, serving pieces, vases and decorations.
Marimekko’s large patterns and bold colors came out to feature since the 1950’s. Simple fabrics, bedding, scatter cushions, handbags and even umbrellas are available in this hard to miss in this print.
In the spirit of the festive Finnish holiday season, these home decor items and delicate handmade glass ornaments will add a splash of color to any home. Do be careful if you intend to fly the ornaments home as a gift. Fragile is the operative word.
The jewelers get their inspiration from jewels and brooches found through the ages of Finnish history. Most collections consist of replicas from the Iron Age, the beginning of the Christian era, and the prosperous Viking age, with a modern flair to suit our present time. Kalevala offers more traditional pieces in silver and bronze, while Aarikka offers modern handmade pieces of wood. Both companies use only Finish materials to stay true to their heritage.
Each glass bird is unique. The most prominent designers are Oiva Toikka, Giorgio Vigna and Anu Penttinen, each with their own unique style. It is the perfect gift or ornament for most homes. Vigna’s designs are sculptured out of multiple layers of glass. The birds look compact, but are surprisingly heavy. Toikka specialized more in unique crystal designs, and features the designers’ signature on the base. Penttinen’s birds are bold and bright, with an urban inspiration behind them. Each of Penttinen’s bird has a unique personality, quirky features, and even a name. They are quite pricey though, so this gift is best given to a very dear acquaintance or friend.
Practical Tips for Gift-Giving in Finland:
A gift of flowers, chocolates, or wine is always appreciated. The overall rule of giving flowers still applies. Do not give flowers in even numbers, and avoid the colors such as yellow and white, since it represents death and funerals. Do not give potted plants. When greeting a married couple, the wife should always be greeted first. Business is never to be discussed during these get-togethers.