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This past weekend, Hanna and I were up in Maine celebrating an early Christmas with the folks. This involved a lot of good food, a Christmas carols service at nearby Colby College, and the creation of our very own tonttu for the apartment. Tonttu are Finnish house spirits that Hanna’s mother learned about from her Finnish parents and grandparents. Here are some photographs that we took of the process of making two tonttus. It took the better part of Sunday morning.

these fellows were our model tonttus
here are some of the supplies Linda provided
We started with a base of cardboard, Styrofoam, and felt
all self-respecting tonttus need hats
Mine is on the left, Hanna’s is on the right.
Hanna named hers Ibrahim; mine is named Helga
We brought them back to Boston on Monday to grace our Christmas shelf

While tonttu is the Finnish term for house spirits, some of you may be familiar with the Astrid Lindgren picturebooks which tell the story about a gentle tomten who cares for a family farm in Sweden. This is essentially the same folk character, though seen through the lens of a slightly different Scandinavian tradition.

I hope all of you are finding small and pleasurable ways of preparing for the holiday season …