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Christmas 2013

The cards for this season feature the tomte of Scandinavian folklore. This small hominid
had a deep affection and respect for the land and all of its animals.

It is his love for animals that is the theme of the artwork on the cards for this season.

Total Search Results: [ 13 ]

Image Item Name
Tomte with Rabbit

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Tomte with Rabbit

It is an afternoon on an arctic early winter day. It is bitterly cold and dry. A small clearing offers a place to sit. Everything shows a hint of blue, but is otherwise a sea of white. The light is so flat that the shadows have almost disappeared.

Tomtar had a deep affection for all animals. One is shown here with a rabbit.

In Scandinavia during the Romantic Era, it was a tomte who delivered Christmas gifts. Sounds like long, hard, cold work to me.

We will look at the story of the Easter Bunny in another season. In the meantime, the sentiment captures the story.

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Price: 350 - 2300

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Tomte with Sheaf

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Tomte with Sheaf
Julkärve (Julenek in Norway) is a Swedish custom known from the 18th century, but likely much older. On Christmas Eve a sheaf of grain, usually oats, and traditionally the best or last of the harvest, was offered to the birds. It was placed on a pole, fence, tree, or rooftop. If no sheaf was available, a plate of grain, bread, or seeds was substituted. It had the pragmatic purpose of distracting birds from the recently harvested store of grain in the barn.

The sheaf was linked with the next harvest. Sometimes the sheaf was placed high in an apple tree, as a petition for generosity to the spirit of the harvest. The arrival of many birds foretold a good crop.

Today the sheaf is a significant reminder that birds also have their place. Just as we, they need to eat. Christmas is a time of sharing.

This common Christmas decoration does not always escape the sensibilities of Scandinavian design. It can be quite stylized.

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Price: 350 - 2300

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Tomte with Reindeer

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Tomte with Reindeer

It is a long dark arctic winter night, warmed only by the glow of Northern Lights. The soft shadows lend a sense of peace to the scene. You can almost hear that special silence that follows a new snowfall. You can almost feel the wide-open space and stillness.

Tomtar had deep affection for all animals and were said to be excellent riders. Here one pauses to view the Northern Lights with his close friend.

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Tomte with Spiced Wine

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Tomte with Spiced Wine
Early Romans and Greeks enjoyed spiced (or "mulled") wine. A recipe from the 4th or 5th century AD appears in Apicius' "De Re Coquinaria". Extraordinary Spiced Wine ("Conditum Paradoxum") was made much as today, but with honey and a more limited set of spices. The drink was a winter favorite served hot, but was also enjoyed cold with meals.

The drink survived the Middle Ages and into modern times almost everywhere in Europe. It is known by many names.

Although the wide range of sweeteners, fruits, spices, and alcohols available today facilitate innovation, the major changes over the centuries have been the use of sugar instead of honey, and caramelization of sugar by torching with brandy (or other alcohol). Caramelization was first recorded (as "glödgat vin") in Sweden in 1609, but probably originated in Germany (as "Feuerzangenbowle").

During the Romantic Era in Sweden, spiced wine (Glögg) became very popular and was associated with Christmas. Tomtar were often featured on Glögg bottle labels.

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Tomte with Moose

Tomte with Moose

It is an afternoon on an arctic early winter day. It is cold. The snow is falling; the air is beginning to dry. A haze has lifted. Everything shows a hint of blue. Close objects are clear, but the snow diffuses the view of distant objects. It provides a special softness to the background that brings the subject into immediate focus.

Tomtar were said to be excellent riders. One is shown here on a moose.

A tomte sitting atop a moose, the white beard, the pointed hat, the falling snow… it all seems magical. But then, there always was a magical sense about the Christmas holidays.

“The snow is blown.
The moose is loose.
The magic is just begun.
Happy Holidays!”

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