Press release 224/2016
1 December 2016
On December 1, 2016, ThisisFINLAND.fi releases a not-so-traditional Christmas calendar. After last December’s wildly popular Finland emojis, this year we feature another way of showcasing our country’s weird and wonderful creativity. It’s called Strangest Greetings from Santa and 23 other extraordinary Finns.
We’re proud to present 24 talented Finns who post refreshingly unconventional Christmas messages to capture viewers’ imaginations. Each of these photographers, painters, performers, authors, singers and other creative personalities captures the essence of Finland in a uniquely strange and beautiful way. It’s a personal approach to showing people what Finland is all about.
The audience can dive into a new greeting each day until Christmas Eve, experiencing a highly original image of Christmas, and of Finland. Viewers will be thrilled, moved, surprised and perhaps occasionally even shocked by what they see when they open the windows of the Strangest Greetings calendar.
“Finland, like other countries, often refers to the same well-known names over and over again,” says Petra Theman, Director for Public Diplomacy at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, where ThisisFINLAND.fi is produced. “This time, we’re giving centre stage to names and faces that you might otherwise have missed. We want to act as your curators for an online art exhibition. Above all, we want to display a broad range of unexpected talent and celebrate the spirited passion that Finnish people bring to what they do.”
Together with Posti, the Finnish postal service, ThisisFINLAND.fi is happy to offer viewers the opportunity to send Strangest Greetings postcards anywhere in the world for free. On the day each window is unlocked, 50 postcards showing a related image are available for visitors to write and address online. Posti then prints them and puts them in the mail. Everyone has a chance to send a strange greeting from Finland; we hope these postcards will help spread some Finnish Christmas quirkiness across the globe. And if those 50 cards are already gone, there’s a button for sending e-cards (also free, of course).
Several of the artists participating in Strangest Greetings are known far and wide, while others are up-and-coming names that even most Finnish people do not recognise yet. Fantasy and science-fiction writer Johanna Sinisalo, whose award-winning books appear in 20 languages, introduces the calendar on day one, describing Finland as a “country of extremes,” where “modern times” and “ancient myths” meet.
“We’re consciously steering clear of the traditional Christmas clichés,” says Theman. “The Strangest Greetings calendar aims to surprise and move Finns and fans of Finland around the world. The end of the year is a time for celebrating differences and all the good, weird, fun and amazing things we humans are capable of.”
Strangest Greetings from Santa and 23 other extraordinary Finns is produced by ThisisFINLAND.fi in cooperation with Mirum Agency Helsinki. It is published in English, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
For more info, please contact: Petra Theman, Director for Public Diplomacy, phone: +358 295 351 558.( Please note that she is unavailable between 1:30 and 4:00 pm Finnish time on December 1.)
The Foreign Ministry's email addresses are in the format firstname.lastname@example.org.