Santa Claus in Sweden is called Jultomte. This is derived from the words Jul (Swedish for Christmas) and Tomte (a dwarf or elf).
The Tomte had the task to guard and protect the families. To keep Santa Claus and the elves happy, families in Sweden put a bowl of sweet milk porridge outside the door.
Who brings the presents in Sweden?
On Christmas Eve, the Jultomten, the well-known red Santa Claus, comes with his sack full of presents. As in Germany, the presents are given on the evening of the 24th. December full.
History and tradition of the Swedish Santa Claus
Nowadays, even in Sweden, the well-known Santa Claus comes to houses and apartments every year and distributes Christmas presents. But that has not been the case for too long. This tradition only developed in Sweden in the course of the 20th century. The new generation of journalists of the twenty-first century has taken hold.
The Dutch are to be in 17. The legend of St. Nicholas was brought to America in the nineteenth century. In Dutch, this is called ‘Sinterklaas’, which at some point became Santa Claus in English. This form of Santa Claus only appeared in the second half of the 19th century. Santa Claus came to Sweden at the end of the 19th century and was a copy of a German figure.
In the 1930s, Santa Claus was increasingly commercialized by Coca Cola and Disney and became Santa Claus as we know him today: A friendly older man with a big belly, white beard and red coat.
However, before today’s Santa Claus was able to start his triumphal procession in Sweden as well, there were other customs and traditions in this direction long before him.
There is first the Tomte, a kind of house spirit, which guarded the yard and its inhabitants. This Scandinavian peasant Santa Claus was a creature of folklore, expected to be courted and rewarded with small gifts. All year round, not just at Christmas.
Later, another character appeared in the form of the Julbock (Christmas goat). In the Nordic countries, it has been known since the 18. and 19. Known in the nineteenth century. Young people went from house to house during the Christmas season dressed as a julbock, hoping to collect food, drink and money for the Christmas party. So slowly the tradition of gifts changed.
In the 1850s, the foundation was laid for the "modern" Santa Claus. Pictures and stories appeared, partly through translations from other languages, and a blending of the American and the older Nordic Santa Claus took place.
Santa’s little helpers
The aforementioned Tomte has evolved over the centuries into a kind of Christmas elf.
The "modern" Tomte is a rather cheerful contemporary and generously gives away presents to children. The Tomte are at the people’s side and lend a helping hand. They help where they can and get a little bowl of sweet milk porridge as a thank you on Christmas Eve.
The Christmas elves are very popular in Sweden and you will find them in the Christmas season as decorations in many homes, as stuffed animals or everywhere on Christmas cards.
The two-part children’s book series "Tomte Tummetott" by Astrid Lindgren has also contributed to the popularity of the elves. This appeared in the 1960s. The books are very nice for cozy Advent evenings with children. You can buy it among other things at Amazon.
Santaworld (Tomteland) in Mora
Santa Claus also runs his own amusement park since 1984. Santaworld (Tomteland) near Mora in Dalarna offers adventure and fairy tales from morning till night.
Santa Claus is of course the boss here, otherwise it wouldn’t be called Santaworld. The jealous troll king, however, does everything to cause chaos.
Especially in the Advent and Christmas season Santaworld is a great destination for the whole family.
The Christmas post office in Sweden
If you want to write a letter to the Swedish Santa Claus, you can do it to the following address:
The Swedish post office (PostNord Sverige) promises that you will receive a greeting from Santa Claus in return. Please send your letter to Santa in time though.