In Norwegian tradition, but also throughout Scandinavia, gnomes have long been popular characters around Christmastime and play a special role in seasonal festivities. Fjøsnisse is a gnome with a red hat and a white beard, and according to legend, it’s Fjøsnisse’s job to guard the farm animals, and the people had to leave a bowl of porridge and some home-brewed beer on Christmas as payment for his services. Children were often assigned to the task, and if they forgot, Fjøsnisse could cause mischief or even harm them and the animals.
As for me, I’m not of Scandinavian descent, so whenever I hear any talk of gnomes, I immediately think of a description given by Syd Barrett’s in the classic Pink Floyd song, The Gnome, which appeared on their first album, Piper at the Gates of Dawn, in 1967.
I want to tell you a story ‘Bout a little man if I can. A gnome named Grimble Gromble. And little gnomes stay in their homes, Eating, sleeping, drinking their wine. He wore a scarlet tunic, A blue-green hood, it looked quite good. He had a big adventure Amidst the grass, fresh air at last. Wining, dining, biding his time…
So for today’s Advent door, please enjoy this short video animation of a Norwegian Christmas gnome. If you pay extra close attention, you can even spot someone leaving porridge and beer out for him. Then, have a listen to The Gnome by Pink Floyd.
Finally, what would Christmas gnomes be without treats? While I imagine that most of us know how to make porridge, I decided to add a recipe for Norwegian Christmas cookies called sand kager. Then, inspired by Grumble Gromble, who would stay in his home eating (cookies, presumably) and drinking his wine, I’ve added a wonderful recipe for Gløgg (mulled wine) for the adult gnomes, which should really hit the spot amidst the cold snap Victoria has been experiencing lately.
2 Cups butter
2 Cups sugar
1 Cup finely chopped almond
4 Cups flour
Cream butter and sugar and work in flour and almonds with the hands until well mixed. Press into tins and bake until a delicate brown.
2 (750 milliliter) bottles fruity red wine, such as Beaujolais
1 (750 milliliter) bottle port wine
3 (3 inch) cinnamon sticks
14 whole cloves
1 orange, peel cut into thin strips
1 cup white sugar, or to taste
3/4 cup rum, or to taste
1/4 cup brandy, or to taste
1 cup raisins
1 cup slivered almonds
- Gently simmer the red wine, port wine, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and orange peel in a large pot set over medium-low heat. Stir in the sugar, rum, and brandy. Continue simmering 5 minutes more, stirring to completely dissolve the sugar, and the mixture is steaming but not boiling.
- Mix the raisins and almonds together in a bowl.
- To serve, ladle into coffee cups or Swedish-style small glass or ceramic mugs. Garnish each cup with a spoonful of the raisin and almond mixture.
A meditation for today’s festive Advent door
We are truly blessed by God in many ways. As we enjoy our Christmas treats, let us remember to give praise to the one who provides for us so abundantly.
Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth.
Serve the LORD with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the LORD Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the LORD is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.