While we were traveling in Norway, I came across an adorable little Christmas shop in Bergen. They had an entire wall of what I referred to as “Santas” only to later find out they were an entirely different figure – the Tomte Nisse!
The Tomte Nisse is a Nordic legend that is essentially a bit like a gnome. Like most creatures of fairy-tale origin, he started out as a bit scary and irrational figure, and then slowly morphed into an accepted bed time story like figure.
In the pre-Christian era, the Tomte Nisse lived in a farm, and protected and aided the farmer and livestock.
He could also be very vengeful (look up the stories!)
When Christianity came to Norway, the Tomte Nisse was essentially outlawed as a pagan figure. Later, the Tomte Nisse returned to popular myth as a helper of Santa’s, bringing gifts.
Personally, I am thrilled to have an adorable figure (and figurine) to round out the Krampus legends this year! Plus, they look great on our mantle!