On the 7th Day of Christmas… I’m going to show you how to make a cute Danish Nisse out of cedar logs. (See all 12 Christmas projects HERE)My mother-in-law is from Denmark and hubby and I were lucky enough to take the kids there to visit a few summers back. Here’s a picture from our trip. That’s hubby, his uncle, and cousin, and his cousin’s family. Smart Jr has the brown hair and that’s our little Lulu when she was two.
Over the years I’ve learned a little about Danish Christmas traditions and hubby and I were happy we to make my in-laws these cute Nisser for Christmas. My brother’s in-laws got one too! What the heck is a Nisse, you ask? The Nisse (pronounced nissa) is a mythical creature of Scandinavian Folklore and differs from the American Santa Claus. Instead, “nisser” are elves or gnomes with long colorful hats. While the name “Nisse” probably derives from St. Nicholas, these old figures are believed to exist long before the birth of Christ. The Nisse associated specifically with Christmas is “Julenisse” (Yule Nisse), who looks pretty much like Santa Claus. The “Julenissen” bring presents to all the nice children on Christmas Eve. But they are not as shy as Santa Clause, and deliver the presents themselves, and don’t come down the chimney in the middle of the night.
Here are a couple of sources for more info: Stavanger-Web, Wikipedia, My Danish KitchenThese two bigger Nisser hang out on our staircase platform and we have a small Nisse that sits near our kitchen window, but he’s not as high maintenance as the Elf on Shelf. You can touch him and play with him. According to my MIL the regular Nisse (or Tomte in Sweden) stays with the family year-round and can be quite mischievous. He can be known to break things or turn milk sour. Huh, now I know how that stuff happens.It’s a good idea to bribe the Julenisse, especially if you’ve been bad, by making his favorite Risengrød (rice porridge). Our family follows this tradition, as we begin every Christmas Eve meal by eating rice porridge at my in-laws. Even Lulu likes it! My MIL hides an almond in the porridge and whomever finds the almond in their bowl gets a prize. This year it was a fleece blanket for the winner and marzipan for the runners-up. Yum!
How to make wooden Nisser:
1) Cut logs to length (whatever length you choose) and then slice one end at a diagonal. I used cedar logs because I had them, but there’s no reason you can’t experiment with other wood species.2) Paint the top 1/4 red and the bottom 1/2 white.3) Add eyes. I just did a black dot of paint, but you could do googly eyes or something else. 4) Add a nose. I used flesh-colored pompoms for one set and white on the other, but a red nose would look cute too.5) Tie a pretty ribbon around them – my ribbon was recycled from my mom’s Christmas gifts the year before.
You can do one Nisse by himself…
Or group them together for even more impact.
Happy New Year everyone! Our tree is coming down tomorrow. 🙂
Be sure to check out these other Christmas crafts: