A holiday gnome? Well, it is actually a Tomte – a Swedish, mischievous domestic sprite responsible for the protection and welfare of ones farmstead. In Sweden, Christmas use to be ushered in by the Yule Goat and has since been replaced with the Tomte. Get the story and enjoy this Swedish inspired Christmas.
Long before Elf on the Shelf, this Swedish gnome would deliver gifts at the door of Swedish families. The Tomte is also commonly seen with a pig, another popular Christmas and fertility symbol in Scandinavia. He is still often pictured on Christmas cards and house and garden decorations often with a horse or cat, or riding on a goat or in a sled pulled by a goat, and for many people the idea of the farm Tomte still lives on, if only in the imagination and literature.
If treated well, Tomtes protect the family and animals from misfortune, and may also aid the chores and farm work. However, they are known to be short tempered, especially when offended and will play tricks on the inhabitants of the homestead. It is customary to leave a behind a bowl of porridge with butter on Christmas Eve in gratitude for his help.
Make Your Own Swedish Christmas Garland or Ornaments
We were inspired by this Swedish tradition and created a free downloadable printable of Swedish design. Using traditional Swedish Christmas colors of red and white, we designed the Tomte partners of the goat, cat, pig and horse along with Swedish medallions that can be used a decorations for your home or tree.
There are two different ways to use this printable. One is to cut out the farm animals and mount them onto birch veneer or balsa wood to make tree ornaments.
Or print onto a thick cardstock and cut out. Then string together to create an adorable garland.
Swedish inspired Christmas
Has our Tomte inspired your imagination? Do you want a more Nordic Christmas this year? Well, there are many ways to do that online. Target as a holiday shopping page just of Nordic-style décor for your home. Or maybe you want your Christmas dinner to be a taste of Scandinavian joy. Check out Savour’s Scandinavian Julbord Christmas gallery. Or try visiting Sweden’s own IKEA and be in awe of the simple and stylish holiday décor that abounds their store. Whatever it may be we hope that your Christmas celebration is inspired.
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