The Tomten is a creature from Scandinavian folklore who bears a resemblance to the more commonly known gnome. In some countries he has replaced the Yule Goat as gift bearer on Christmas night. It is believed that each home has a Tomten, who is the corporeal manifestation of the “soul” of the household. He lives among the dead in the burial mounds surrounding the home.
The Tomten acts as a caretaker, protector and helper of the household and it’s resident children and animals. That is, if you don’t anger him.
The Tomten has quite the temper and has been known to take revenge by killing livestock and playing nasty ticks on the home’s inhabitants. His choice of vengeful acts include breaking things around the house, hiding important objects, (car keys missing?), curdling the milk and tying the cows tails together. No cows? Your shoelaces will suffice. There are even some stories of Tomten driving people insane with their tricks or biting them. Their bites, being poisonous typically lead to death, as the only cure is by supernatural means, of course.
You would be well advised to leave a gift of food out on Christmas Eve for this fellow.
Art by Astrid Lindgren