It's true. I am enamored with all things Swedish and now I am completely obsessed with our Christmas tomten garland. 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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The inspiration for our tomten garland came from one of my all time favorite Christmas picture books, The Tomten, by Astrid Lindgren, the author of Pippi Longstocking.
Lindgren is not the only author who was inspired by tomten! See our list of children's tomten books for more books to read while you do a little Swedish Christmas crafting! And don't miss these DIY Swedish Christmas woven heart ornaments (without the "woven" part!) based on the marvelous Astrid Lindgren book, Christmas in Noisy Village.
Tomten Garland Instructions
The paper tomten garland is easy to make and uses materials you probably already have!
What you need:
- Colored paper in red, white and whatever skin tone you want.
- Invisible thread (you could also use regular ribbon or string)
- Black pencil
- Glue stick
- 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. If all the triangles are different sizes, that's okay! Each tomte can be his own man!
- Cut circles for the faces. You can use a single color for uniformity or different colors for a diverse group of tomten!
- Glue the tomten parts together as shown, with a red triangle for the hat and a white triangle for the beard.
- Draw faces on the exposed part of the circle.
- Cut invisible thread (or string) to the desired length and tape tomten to the thread.
- Hang your festive tomten garland in the window, on your Christmas tree, 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 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 the following book lists:
- Tomten books for kids (picture books and chapter books, Christmas and year-round selections)
- Swedish Christmas and holiday picture books. Learn about a Swedish style Christmas and winter holidays like St. Lucia Day!
Adventures of Adam says
How cute are these! I love that each one has its own character. What a wonderful keepsake too.
What a great idea!! I love all things Swedish too - these are so fun!
We have heard of Tomtens, we haveTontus in Finland. Your Tomten inspired garland is adorable.
This is the cutest garland I have ever seen! Such a fun activity for kids to do and I can't wait to get hold of this book!
Sue Lively says
He he he! These are adorable - I love all the different faces the kids came up with. I'll add this to my list of cute Christmas traditions from around the world.
We have not heard of tomtens in our house, but I'm sure my boys would love the stories of them. Thanks for the book idea and the easy to create garland.
maryanne @ mama smiles says
The simplicity of this ornament is very Sweden-appropriate. Very fun craft!
I love these!! I've never heard of a tomten either. Definitely going to try with my kids! Cheers!
What a great idea, I love homemade garland!
This looks beautiful! Love the little expressions on each face!
Cyndee Phelps says
I can't wait to do this with my 3 yr old granddaughter! This includes 2 of her favorite activities - drawing and gluing.