Today I'm gonna tell you a story: a couple of days ago I went grocery shopping with my little girl.
Inevitably we stopped in Christmas decoration department. And I guess those of you with kids will instantly understand what happened there. We're living in Finland since like a bit more of one year already, and the Christmas decorations are mostly: light bulb chains for in- and outdoor, candle holders and tonttu – little folk of Santa Claus. And about the latters is my talk.
Those tonttu's come mostly in reddish brown and grey, in variety of shapes and sizes. They are all mass produced somewhere, where the quality is not so important and good design even less. They are mostly having lots of little gadgets around and that makes them look busy and overdecorated. And they are eye catching, since they are EVERYWHERE in grocery stores across the country. My little girl wanted one of those, or even two, or maybe three. She wanted them to decorate her room.
Well, reddish brown (or brownish red) and grey are not so much my faves when it comes to bringing in house little pieces that can spice up the interior and bring in some holiday spirit. It looks quite offen muddy in my opinion. But this is my opinion. Certainly lot of people appreciate those, because as I said, they are EVERYWHERE. And I am SURPRISED, because I know, this is the country of Marimekko, of Alvar Aalto, of Arabia, of Olli Tanninen, just to name the few, I'm not even speaking of very many local artists or other children book illustrators. So finnish people DO have an extraordinary sense for good design, and quality. But somehow those sad and cheap tonttu overflow here each year.
All that being sad, my friends, I said NO to my little girl's requests. NO to those bad-quality tonttu's, NO to that colourway, NO to the fact that they've been mass produced far away from here and have like no positive vibes at all.
This morning I was picking up a parcel from the post, and I've seen those. And I felt in love.¨
Please meet the proper tonttu's, that are coming from a Finnish brand AARIKKA, and are made here, in Finland – of wood, and felt. They are bright, and sunny, and properly manufactured. They are kinda minimalist and I LOVE it. You can find them here. They are pricey, but they are worth every penny. I'm willing to pay for good design, for natural materials, for proper craftmanship, for the fact that those tonttu's create local jobs and not supporting the outsourcing into far away.
It's important in my opinion to have around things that have those qualities. Each time when I pass by, they make me smile, and feel happy about coming Christmas, and simply happy of having them here, in our family. And I hope they would somehow get under my little girl's skin to make her more sensitive for good quality products, locally made, something special that would brighten up our life and live for a long time in our place.