|Christmas gnomes bring a true touch of tradition to this year's Christmas stamps. Of course, this is not their first appearance in the Christmas mail.
They have been the most popular motif on Norwegian Christmas cards for more than a century. However, they did not appear on a Christmas stamp until 1992, and now they are back yet again.
In Norwegian folklore, the "nisse" or gnome was closely associated with the farm and with Christmas. He had to be well looked after, and the farmer always took care to put out some Christmas porridge for him. It was considered lucky to have a gnome on the farm and he was usually friendly, helpful and kind to the animals. Originally he was called "tomt" or "toftekall", but in time he became known as Nikuls, a variant of the popular St. Nicholas, then Nils and finally "Nisse".
The gnome lived in the barn. He was small (