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The Jultomten is a gnomish Father Christmas that brings Swedish children their Christmas presents. Good little children get toys, bad little children get bunches of sticks. The Jultomten is often given characteristics common to the Julenissen of Denmark and Norway. He is often thought to live in the outhouse, attic or barn. Jultomten is considered the household guardian and his goodwill is assured by leaving him a bowl of porridge on Christmas Eve. He is on friendly terms with the household cat but is very afraid of candles.
Swedes have many distinctive Christmas customs. One such custom is to honor St. Lucia, the Queen of light. On December 13th, the eldest daughter of a household dresses in a white dress with a red sash, a crown of holly, and candles on her head. She wakes up early and serves coffee and cakes to the whole family. Another Swedish custom is to accompany each Christmas present with an elaborate verse, humorously hinting at the contents of the package. Straw ornaments and a straw goat call Julbrock are other singular aspects of a Christmas in Sweden.
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