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: