It’s true. I am obsessed with all things Swedish and now I am obsessed with our Christmas tomten garland. Swedish Christmas is especially magical, and we love the funny, grouchy tomte character who makes frequent appearances this time of year. He is not, as some might describe, the “Swedish Santa Claus.” He is actually a gnome-like creature who is the guardian of the Swedish household and farm.
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Last year we made Swedish Christmas woven hearts (without the “woven” part!) based on the marvelous Astrid Lindgren book, Christmas in Noisy Village. This year, the inspiration for our tomten garland came from another one of my all time favorite Christmas picture books, The Tomten, also by Astrid Lindgren.
Be sure to check out our entire list of tomten books!
What you need:
- Colored paper in red, white and whatever skin tone you want.
- Invisible thread (or ribbon or string)
- Black pencil
- Glue stick
Instructions: (even though I bet you can figure it out from the photo!)
- Cut triangles from white and red paper. We made all of our triangles identical so our tomten were symmetrical, but it is not necessary. Allow your child to take the lead.
- Cut circles for the faces.
- Glue the tomten parts together as shown.
- Draw faces.
- Cut invisible thread to the desired length and tape tomten to the string.
- Hang in window or on tree (which I will do, once we get one!). Or wherever you think a bunch of mischievous gnomes should hang out.
What I like about this project is that kids can put their own stamp on it by creating the faces and deciding the shape of the hats and beards. It’s true that ours our symmetrical, but we are a math art nerdy family and liked the conformity of the shapes in this way, but I think different shapes and sizes of tomten would be winsome.
To learn more about the Swedish tomte and his Norwegian and Danish counterpart, the nisse, read more of our favorite books about the folkloric creatures found on one of these book lists. (Click on the image to see the lists!)
Try another fun paper holiday craft. Watch this and see how you can turn math into a holiday treat!