Inge had a way of always putting the best forward. A Danish-American living in California, she always found a positive way to view a challenging situation.
She fell off a ladder once. Broke her arm and sustained multiple bruises. The fact that she fell from a ladder while decorating her house for Christmas might have made the situation extra challenging. Who wants to go through Christmas battered and bruised? But it didn’t stop Inge from being cheerful. Her daughter is my good friend, and it was one of the things we marveled about: both our mothers’ capacity for seeing the positives. Both women had been through tough times, but came out the other end of it with joyfulness.
Inge also collected Nisser – the tiny elf-people that visit people’s homes. Not surprisingly, she collected the kind, cheerful Nisser, the ones you may see in Scandinavian homes at Christmas.
Inge died a few years ago, and her daughter has inherited some of the Nisser. So they will be visiting her own home this Advent and Christmas, a fact which makes my friend very happy.
(Yes, I know the ones in these photos are dolls. The real Nisser are usually invisible.)
But my friend warns that the “drille Nisser” – like the one who made my family’s appliances break down recently — could still come out on Christmas Eve! We are advised to leave out a bowl of sweet porridge for them the night before – preferably with lots of cinnamon.
This post is dedicated to the memory of Inge, and to all who take joy in Christmas.
29 thoughts on “The Nicer Nisser”
Merry Christmas and may all your Nissers be nice.
When I first read this, Georgeina, I thought you said “may all your Nisser be mice”. What a relief to re-read it. Yes, I like your saying – wonder if they say that in Scandinavia?
If your Nisser are mice I hope they’re nice mice. I think you’re OK, to be honest, I think the dodgy Nisser, or Chaos Fairies as I call them, are very much living with me at the moment.
I think the only cure is to laugh at them. Nothing else seems to work! May they move on soon!
These little Nisser are sooooo cute. Surely they would not cause any harm and I would welcome them in my house.
Aren’t they so cute, eh?
Reblogged this on Cynthia Reyes – Author of "A Good Home" & "An Honest House" and commented:
Ever Heard of the Nisser?
I’ve never heard of Nessers. It sounds like they’re fickle elves and fairies!
May you have festive frolicking with fickle fairies. 🙂
Fffff-abulous fine wishes from you, Brad. Thank you!
Yummy Yuletide yearnings….. XD
I’ve never heard of them. It sounds like you need to learn to make porridge. How hard can it be?
If I can learn to make soup, you can learn to make porridge for the Nisser.
I’ve never heard of these cute little Nissers. Learned another new Christmas tradition. 😀 😀 😀
A wonderful dedication to Inge’s memory. ❤ ❤
Well, I hope the Nisser that visit leave fairy dust rather than chaos. I love these sorts of tales. Wouldn’t it be nice if porridge with cinnamon warded off all evil? What a nice thought.
Maybe you have something there….
What a very lovely post. Sad I missed it last time around. Better make sure I have cinnamon 🙂 🙂
I have never heard of Nisser either! I think we have them in our house at the moment and not the nice Nisser! Phones, lap-tops and now the oven – all behaving badly! Thank-you for posting this again Cynthia!
Yes, dear girl — you have the Naughty Nisser. sorry about that.
These looked so familiar that I had to go look them up. They are indeed the same thing the Swedes call Tomte’s. My children’s paternal grandmother was Swedish and always called them Tomtegnoma’s. I think that’s where we get our gnomes from. MIL was mild collector of these but I had not heard of them even though my own mother was German. She spelled her name Inge the same as the Danish woman you wrote about. It caught my attention. Mom was a big fan of Christmas. Things like the nisser’s bring a bit of whimsy to a dreary winter.
Yes, and a nice bit of cultural diversity — since the rest of us tend to have lots of lights and evergreens!
I have a few of these tomte nisser at home and my mother has a larger selection. They are Tomte’s (FAther Christmas) helpers during this busy time. Cynthia, this is a lovely post and loving tribute to your friend.
Thank you. Do share pictures of your tomte nisser!
They’re still in boxes in the loft but probably coming down this weekend! I’ll try to remember…
I like lots of cinnamon with my Christmas treats, too!
What a lovely tradition, Scandinavia has some great folklore and traditions. I’m glad to know you’re leaving out a little treat for the Nisser so that they bring only good things!