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Happy 13th birthday, Ovi
by Asa Butcher
2017-12-20 11:25:39
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Upon arriving home from work yesterday, I was bemused to discover a little red wooden door attached to a white frame on our kitchen table. A plastic wreath and brass-coloured plastic fittings were laid out beside it, obviously waiting to be attached. My eldest daughter then appeared and happily explained that it is an Elf Door. 

13_0004Further conversation revealed that this magical Christmas decoration can be placed against a wall in your home in order to provide Santa’s diminutive helpers access to your home on Christmas Eve—especially useful in Finnish apartment blocks not individual fitted with a chimney.

When I arrived at the office this morning, my colleague coincidentally mentioned that he had heard on the news that these Elf Doors are very popular in Finland this year. He added that there is even a dedicated hashtag on Instagram for people to share photos of their beautifully-decorated doorways, with a surprising amount of effort being applied.

It was then that I checked Facebook Messenger and was pleasantly surprised to see a rare message from my partner-in-crime, Mr Thanos Kalamidas. Once again he had to remind me that Ovi Magazine’s birthday was looming and that we were about to notch up our 13th year… gulp.

I couldn’t believe it has been 13 years since we opened our own little door and hoped that the Finnish Elves, well more like employers, would spot this collaborative online portfolio and present us with a job interview. While that didn’t exactly happen, something magical and unexpected happened instead.

The door gradually grew in size and began to welcome like-minded people from around the world who wanted to contribute to our project. The articles, essays, poems, and cartoons kept coming, the number of participants grew and suddenly everybody knew a second Finnish word to accompany ‘sauna’.

Ovi—yes, meaning ‘door’—remains wide open after 13 years, still offering a creative space for everybody to share their thoughts and opinions. The ‘Welcome’ doormat, just like its co-founders, may look a little frayed around the edges, but I remain proud to be part of this community.

Happy 13th birthday!

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