Door 24: Lots of chocolate

I’ve always thought that in a good advent calendar, Door 24 should be the best one. It’s often a double door and in the case of a chocolate calendar, the last piece of chocolate is twice as big as the other ones.

This may not be a good advent calendar because it doesn’t have that.

There’s been traditions, rusty cans, buddies, campfire stories, debates, Finland, dreams, love (because it’s all you need), memory lane, music, legends, hockey, flashbacks, more movies, poses, planes, trains, and automobiles, shopping, empathy, homemade decorations, wrapping presents, unexpected turns of events, breaks, and even re-gifting, but no chocolate, not even a little bit.

I think I made a huge mistake.

Oh well, I’ll just call this one “lots of chocolate”.

Merry Christmas.


Door 13: Flashbacks

When people ask me why my English sounds so American – and sometimes they do – my answer is always the same: “Too many episodes of Happy Days and rock’n’roll.” That’s what I told the English gentleman in Oxford who was the first one to ask me that, and that’s the answer I’ve stuck to ever since.

Now, we both know that there’s no such thing as “too many episodes of Happy Days” or even rock’n’roll but it is true that I was raised on TV.

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Oxford on my mind

When Wife and I decided to take the family circus on the road again, to the UK, we knew there were two cities we absolutely had to visit: Cardiff and Oxford. (London was a given so it was never even discussed, and we began our trip with a week-long stay there).

Cardiff, because Wife spent a semester there during her university days, and Oxford because that’s where I spent a few weeks in my teens, on a memorable language course. It was the first time I had traveled abroad on my own, and I’ve carried fond memories of the trip with me ever since.

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The Ristory

Risto Pakarinen is a writer, editor, author, and a one-time wanna-be hockey agent.

His debut novel, Someday Jennifer (HarperCollins Canada) will be published in 2019.

His literary agent is Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown, one of the world’s leading literary and talent agencies.

Since 1995, Risto has written thousands of articles, the topics ranging from Pippi Longstocking to Wayne Gretzky and from industrial cranes to cinnamon buns to what it’s like to be a circus clown, a magician or Arianna Huffington.

He’s also a freelancing editor at SAS’s Scandinavian Traveler.

In 2011, a column he wrote about fear for Aalto university’s magazine Profile won third prize at the Pearl awards, in the “Best column” category. (Some dude named Martin Scorsese won first prize).

His first book, Joukkue vailla vertaa (A Team Like No Other), about the 1995 Team Finland that won the country’s first hockey world championship, came out in April 2005. His second book, Off The Post: hockey stories from across the world, a collection of his blog entries on, came out in November 2007, and the third, Bernd BrĂĽckler’s KHL memoir “This is Russia: Life in the KHL” in December 2013. In 2015, he co-.authored “Pelaa omalla mailallasi” with Alpo Suhonen, the first European head coach in the National Hockey League.

Between 2006 and 2009, he was Web & Tech department editor and writer at SAS’s in-flight magazine Scanorama and between 2008 and 2009, the editor of the Champions Hockey League’s official website.

His articles have been published in ESPN The Magazine, The Sporting News, and Fast Company as well as on and several Finnish and Swedish magazines. He is also a regular contributor of The Hockey News,, and, and a former columnist of Jääkiekkolehti, a leading hockey magazine in Finland. He has previously been a featured blogger/columnist on the Finnish hockey league’s website at

He has also translated and edited several books about sports, such as NHL Hockey, Formula One, Soccer Stars and a series of youth books. Between 2003 and 2005, Finnjewel Oy, a company he founded, published Hockey, a Finnish hockey quarterly.

In his previous 9-to-5 life, Risto was managing editor at Kynämies Oy, Helsinki, Finland, in charge of a seven-person editorial team producing seven customer magazines. In 2002, he drafted a new concept for the Finnish Business Graduates’ Union’s magazine Ekonomi. In 2003, the magazine was voted Best Customer Magazine in an annual competition arranged by Finland’s Post.

Between 1998 and 2002, Risto Pakarinen was managing editor at Sweden’s leading custom publishing house, Appelberg, and was responsible for, for example, Ericsson Mobile Phones’ international internal magazine, Ericsson’s international customer magazine On and M-real’s international customer magazine Embrace for which he also created the initial concept. Embrace won jury’s Special Prize in the 2002 competition.

In the mid-1990s, Pakarinen was Business Development Officer at the Canadian Embassy in Helsinki, Finland, helping Canadian companies with finding partners and new markets in Finland. His areas of responsibility included agricultural goods, forestry, environmental technology, and sporting goods.

Risto Pakarinen has a Master’s degree in marketing, from the Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration. He’s based in Stockholm, Sweden, and he’s fluent in Finnish (native), Swedish (married), and English – and also claims to speak Spanish and French.

For story samples, click “Articles” in the top menu.

For CV, click here.

Get in touch

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