Scandinavia

In Finland the Christmas tree is set up on Christmas Eve. Everybody’s house is given a very good clean in readiness for Christmas. Hours are spent in the kitchen cooking and baking special treats for the festive season.  A sheaf of grain is often tied to a pole, together with nuts and seeds and placed in the garden for the birds. The meal begins as soon as the first star appears in the sky. The Christmas festivities are preceded by a visit to the famous steam baths, after which everyone dresses in clean clothes in preparation for the Christmas dinner, which is served at 5-7 in the evening. Christmas gifts may be given out before or after the dinner. The children do not hang up stockings, but Santa Claus comes in person, often accompanied by as many as half a dozen Christmas elves to distribute the presents.  After dinner the children go to bed while the older people stay up to chat with visitors and drink coffee until about midnight. Christmas Day services in the churches begin at six in the morning.  source 

Christmas in Sweden begins with the Saint Lucia ceremony. Before dawn on the morning of 13 December, the youngest daughter from each family puts on a white robe with a red sash. Wearing a crown of evergreens with tall-lighted candles attached to it, she wakes her parents, and serves them coffee and Lucia buns. The other children accompany her. This custom goes back to Lucia, a Christian virgin martyred for her beliefs at Syracuse in the fourth century. Candle-lit processions to Church feature Scandinavian Christmases, where, in the home, it is mother who always lights the candles on Christmas Eve. Christmas trees are usually found in Swedish homes two days before Christmas. Risgryngrot, a special rice porridge, has hidden in it an almond which as tradition has it the person who finds the almond in his or her bowl will marry in the coming year. Christmas trees are usually brought into Swedish homes one or two days before Christmas. Decorations include: candles, apples, Swedish flags, small gnomes and tasseled caps, and straw ornaments. The house may be filled with red tulips and the smell of pepparkakor – a heart-star, or goat-shaped gingerbread biscuits. After Christmas Eve dinner, a friend or family member dresses up as tomte or Christmas gnome.  source