This is my most favorite treasure of all.
Made by my paternal grandfather around 100 years ago, this Swedish version of Santa, called a Jultomte, is made with pipe cleaners, wool, and old fashioned cotton wool. He wears an apron, walks with a stick and holds a lantern made of thin copper that my grandfather cut in a pattern to make it look real. His face holds a hurried and determined expression, as if he wants to make sure all the little children get their gifts on time. Just a note on tomte, which is the singular of tomtar: According to Swedish folklore, tomtar were little gnomes who lived close by regular folks, usually in the barn. They were not often seen, but they were present and looked after their people. They were probably related to the much later Swedish version of Santa, the Jultomte (Jul is the Swedish word for Christmas). The Swedish Santa does not travel with reindeer, but with goats. Since huge herds of reindeer actually live in the north of
, I find this interesting. Sweden
I'm sure my grandmother (known to earlier followers of my blog as she with the dimpled chin) knitted the cap he wears. She also made beautiful embroidered table cloths, pillows, runners, and so on. I don't think she ever bought a dress, she made them all herself. This Christmas table runner (the picture shows one end), must have been a very simple little cross-stitch thing for her to make. But it is lovely and I treasure it every year as I bring it out for the holiday season.
This picture of my grandparents later in life must have been taken at a summer cottage. I just love the make-shift clothesline and the idea of striking a pose underneath it.