Six Characters in Search of a Blogger

6.4 Don’t. Forget. The. Butter: tomte, the Christmas gnome (Sweden)
December 18, 2008, 1:09 am
Filed under: Santa and His Posse | Tags: , ,


The Tomte

The Tomte

If you live in Sweden, legend has it that each home has its own little helper/guardian, the Tomte, who lives snug under the floorboards, and comes out at night to take care of the house and protect its inhabitants.   (Don’t try to see him; he can easily make himself invisible.) 

At Christmas, the Tomte distributes holiday gifts to members of the family, often providing rhymed clues about the contents.  In return, the family is asked to leave a bowl of porridge for the Tomte to snack on–but, very importantly, the porridge must have butter on top; if it doesn’t, be prepared for the consequences.  He’ll morph from a cuddly, industrious little gnome into a rage-filled, schizophrenic meth addict.  He’ll burn your tree.  He’ll smear your walls with human waste.  He will cut you.

Well, perhaps I exaggerate a little.  But he will make a mess.  So do yourself a favor–don’t try to substitute with margarine or Olivio or some silly soy-based product.  Go for the Swedish equivalent of Land o’ Lakes.  (Land av Insjö ?)  You can thank me later.


2 Comments so far
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Cute. Here in Wisconsin, the Dairy state it is sacreledge to use anything but butter. Our Tomte eat well.

Comment by swededreams

My grandma was a first generation Swedish American,
and she and her sisters used to sing a song at the holidays that went:
“Hey tomte guben schloe glossen” (I’m not clear on spelling)
It meant, roughly, “hey fat elf, drink with us”

I’m looking everywhere for the lyrics to this song- any idea where I might dig them up?

Comment by Carlson

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