Santa for hire Posted by Katja on Dec 21, 2009 in Culture, Swedish Language
Most people enjoy Christmas immensely and for young children one of the most exciting event is getting Christmas gift (julklappar) from Santa. In Sweden Christmas is celebrated on the 24th as in many other European countries, which many of you might already know.
Santa (Tomten) comes to families’ houses around 4 PM and personally hands out the presents to all the children. Sadly, the adults do not get any; sorry all of you who might have been hoping. This need for a physical figure is, to my knowledge, unique. Kris Kindle in Germany, Santa and Father Christmas never actually need to appear in front of us. This poses a problem for most Swedish families since they want to be at home with their families on the 24th. “Vem ska vara Tomte i år?” (Who is going to be Santa this year?) is a commonly asked question. Relatives (släktingar) have to start taking turns. This is a huge stress factor for families with youngsters. Parents wrap the presents they are going to give their children and give them to the person who is Tomte for them that year.
And so a business is born. Teenagers can earn a bit of money within a couple of hours on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately alcoholics get this job as well, which has been known to scare the living daylights out of small children and even the older ones who have stopped believing in Tomte.
Is it a good thing to have a physical Tomte? In my opinion it was great growing up with, but doesn’t it make Christmas somewhat fake when you find out that Tomte isn’t real?