Cities around the country are once again getting into the Christmas spirit, offering a number of joulu-themed markets with all manner of items on sale to enhance your Christmas cheer.

Turku transforms itself into the Christmas City of Finland every year, distracting itself from the darkening winter to stage Old Great Square Christmas Markets each weekend leading up to Christmas. Here you can find craftsmen’s stalls, Christmas performances and ample amounts of Christmas lights. Santa’s elves will be taking note of Christmas wishes in Santa’s secret book, and the Children’s Christmas Market offers a range of activities aimed at the smaller members of the family. Brinkkala courtyard is filled with a stage and market offering fairy tales, dance and music.

MAKIng a welcome return to these shores, British alt-rockers Muse are appearing at Hartwall Areena on Monday 10 December. Having been together since they were a sprightly 13 years old, the trio initially burst onto the scene with the release of their self-titled EP in 1997. Another well-received EP was to follow before the band stepped up to the big league with their 1999 full-length debut, Showbiz.

EMBRACING the fiery passion of the dance, and providing some much needed warmth at the start of the year, the Oulu Tango Festival is being staged from 3 to 13 January.

A range of dancing workshops to suit all levels of dancers will be held, from beginners to intermediate and advanced level for 3 days (4-6 January). This year sees tuition from the likes of Gustavo Rosas and Gisela Natoli (Argentina), Alexey Barbolin and Julia Zueva (Russia), Fernando Jorge and Alexandra Baldaque (Portugal, European Tango Salon Champions 2011), Tomas Käyrä and Erita Wennström (Finland) and Kari and Karoliina Kiiski (Finnish Argentine Tango Champions 2012).

HAVING painted the bulk of her works in the 1940s, Gunvor Grönvik’s expressionist style is on display at Amos Anderson Art Musuem until 28 January.

Echoing Van Gogh with her use of saturated colours, the artist’s thick oil paint brush strokes depict urban life in Helsinki, along with the scenes from archipelago during summers that she spent in Nagu. With her work characterised by loneliness and alienation, this state of expression reflected her reclusive manner. However, she was renowned for her uncompromising approach to her painting.

Halloween once again sees the staging of Helsinki’s increasingly popular film festival. Featuring all things underground, cult and fantasy, Maximum Halloween 3012 is being held from 31 October until 4 November.

Following on from a stand up performance from legendary filmmaker John Waters on 23 October, a trio of highlights from Baltimore’s greatest filmmaker can be found during the festival, including Pink Flamingos, Desperate Living and Excision.