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The Story Behind

According to Folklore, The Nisse is an old supernatural little fellow that was widespread in the Nordic countries before the advent of Christianity. There is mentions all the way back to the Vikings about the Nisse. 

The Nisse is usually described with a red hat and was believed to be a household guardian spirit that was responsible for the care and success of a farm and/or family. 


Initially, The Nisse took an active interest in the farm by performing chores such as grooming horses, carrying bales of hay, and other farm-related tasks. These chores were usually done much more efficiently than by their human counterparts.  However, Nisse have a temper, to say the least. If the household was not careful to keep it's Nisse satisfied, usually in the form of a bowl full of rise pudding with butter on the top, the spirit could turn against their masters.

But if you treaded him, the animals and your family good, he would make sure to give you success. 


In the 1840s, the farm's Nisse became the bearer of Christmas presents in Scandinavia and therefore called “Julenisse.”  It has been associated with Christmas ever since.

The meaning behind the name of Nisse

The word ‘Nisse' is best known as the mischievous Christmas Nisse, however, it is also a personal name. Nisse is a noun formed from the name Nis, a cuddly version of the name Niels. Niels is a Danish name development of the Saint named Nicolaus. Saint Nicolaus was a children’s saint and became known as Santa Clause during the 19th century.


The Christmas Nisse has many names in many languages, here is a few examples.  

  • Danish: Nisse

  • Swedish; Tomte

  • Norwegian: Nisse

  • Finnish: Tonttu

  • English: Gnome 

  • Polish: Gnom

  • Dutch: Kabouter

and many many more.....


  • Weight: The adult male weights around 300 grams and the female around 250-275 gram. 

  • Height: A Nisse is around 6 inches or 15 cm in height, without the hat. 

  • Age: Can live up to 400 years. 

  • Hat: Always red

  • Laungue: Gnomes speak their own language, that is called Gnim. Most gnomes had a truly daunting vocabulary, however, with extremely fine degrees of distinction in, for example, kinds of love or shades of green. 

    • A few words: 

      • Slitzweitz = Goodbye and goodnight

      • Te diews = Thank you

      • Norl = Spider

  •  Relatives:

    • Elves, Goblins, House Ghosts, Trolls, Dwarfs, River Spirits, Wood Nymphs etc.

 The Nisse have touch our heart's for 1000 of years. His magical tales have been pass on from generation to generation.  

I am here to pass on the legends and history about around the Nisse, so we can carry

on this beautiful tradition of love for generations to come.

Only when we pass on his story, his magic can fill our hearts. 

The Nisse today

Today the Nisse is a uncoincidentally part of the Scandinavian Christmas traditions. 

As his home have been in hiding for many many years, usually in the actic, he is now a visual part of the family doing the holidays behind his little door. 

I think we can say that every Dane would agree "it would not be Christmas without The Christmas Nisse" 

Even though The Nisse has changed over the many years he has been around, and now traveled overseas to North America with the book The Christmas Nisse, the thought behind the Nisse has remained the same - they are here to remind us to create special memories filled with Joy.

The Christmas Nisse Village
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