Condo Blues: Yuletide Village Christmas Light Tour

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Yuletide Village Christmas Light Tour

Last summer I created and performed a new character at the Ohio Renaissance Festival- Nissa Tomtesdottir the gnome! I had so much fun sharing my Danish heritage and Scandinavian gnome/nisse/tomte lore through Nissa (with a giant helping of playing with patrons who came dressed as Wirt and Greg from Over the Garden Wall this season) that I had to celebrate Nissa's and my favorite time of the year - Christmas - at Yuletide Village Season of Lights!

 ohio renaissance festival Yultide Village

My favorite light display are the blanket of blue twinkle lights in the dry creek bed around the Y bridge.  Photo credit: Steve Kohus


 ORF Yuletide Village

 Fun fact: My husband proposed in the center of that very bridge surrounded by our dear friends! Photo credit: Steve Kohus


In the three weeks after the Ohio Renaissance Festival closes and before Yuletide Village opens, the site crew festoons the grounds with lights and fire pits perfect for roasting marshmallows to make s'mores paired with hot chocolate. 

 Nissa the Christmas gnome 

 I got to enjoy diary free hot chocolate for the first time in forever along with everyone! I finally found a decent mix to make at our cast hot drink station. You can try the Swiss Miss Non Dairy Hot Coco Mix I bought here. (Disclosure: I am including some affiliate links in this post for your convenience.) Photo credit: Steve Kohus 


Ohio renaissance Festival front gate
Icicle lights on the front gate bid you hello! Photo credit: Steve Kohus

Ohio renaissance festival Yule tide village lights The back side of the front gate at night. Photo credit: Steve Kohus
Christmas light pirate ship
The Shipwreck Stage looks so pretty! Photo credit: Steve Kohus

Ohio Renaissance Festival Christmas lights
There are displays on many of the stages too. Photo credit: Steve Kohus
One could say that if it doesn't move the Ohio Renaissance Festival put lights on it but that isn't necessarily true. I wrapped my walking stick with a battery powered LED holly garland similar to this one and hid the battery pack in the cloth Danish woven Christmas heart basket you see hanging from my staff so I can see in the dark. Many of my fellow performers did the same - we're lit!

 Yuletide Village Ohio Renaissance Festival Gnome
 I wanted a little more light and bought the metal lantern from one of our vendors. Nissa uses her gnome magic to change the color of the enchanted fireflies in her lantern for children (That may or may not look like this LED light string with a color changing remote control hidden on Lisa's person.)

 It would not be a festival without villagers and famous people!

Jack Frost and Master Havoc
 Jack Frost and Master Havoc. I love his candy cane - he gives a more delicious version to the children he meets. Photo credit: Steve Kohus
Granny Jol the Yule Goat (also called Julbocken or Julbukk) and I pose for photos. It gave me the opportunity to explain that a very, very long time ago, the gnomes (also called nisse or tomte) and the Yule Goat used to deliver the presents to the children in the Scandinavian countries before we asked Santa Claus to do the job for us because he has Christmas magic - the strongest magic of all.
 Nissa the Christmas gnome and Yule Goat
 Scandinavian Christmas traditions represent! I made a Christmas apron and embroidered Glædelig Jul on it for a festive touch and as a visual aid when I bid and teach visitors how to say Merry Christmas in Danish
Christmast lights at the Ohio Renaissance Festival
 Wait. Could it be?! Yes it is! Photo credit: Steve Kohus
 You are never too old to have your picture taken with Santa Claus! Nissa thanked Santa for delivering the Christmas presents to the Scandinavian children. Santa thanked Nissa for putting the twine hangers on the wood snowflakes he gives the good children who come to visit him at Yuletide Village. (Also proof positive if there is a craft project that needs doing, I'll volunteer to do it.)

 Nissa the Christmas gnome and Santa Claus
Santa and I had a lovely chat after our photo was taken about the special gnome magic Nissa uses to stay warm without a ton of layers on such cold December nights. Instead of buying rechargeable hand warmers (less waste and cheaper than boxes of hand and toe warmers) I bought this exact machine washable heated fleece vest for the same amount of money. The vintage fox fur hides the bit of vest that shows around the neckline of my bodice while keeping my neck warm. It is the best investment I've ever made!
 I also checked in with Krampus. Fortunately Nissa has been a very good nisse who won't find herself in Krampus' sack full of naughty people. Whew!

 real live krampus and gnome 
Krampus is on stilts and makes Nissa look even more gnome size than she already is! 
This tree looks like a weeping willow of fairy lights at night. Photo credit: Steve Kohus

This cast iron caldron has been in his family for at least 100 years. Often during the colder weeks at the end of the Ohio Renaissance Festival run, our security folks use it to make soup, stews, and chili for us because they are fantastically nice people (well, unless they have to show their Security Side. Then I'm guessing not so much.) It's fun to share that with the patrons who brave the cold to come visit with us at Yuletide Village!

Homemade soup elves 
 Soup Elves! Photo credit: Steve Kohus

 My dear and fellow Viking friends at The Lost Viking's Hoard went above and beyond for Yuletide and let me tell you they *never* do anything half way during the regular season! In addition to their shop, they set up The Viking's Living Room in the shop next door as a place for patrons to rest, take photos, and if you aren't careful, you might learn something about Christmas in Norway, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, and Denmark when I pop in to say hej (hi!)
The Lost Vikings Hoard
 I have had so, so much fun during the regular and Yule season with The Lost Viking's Hoard! Photo credit: Steve Kohus
Christmas Vikings and gnome Just a few of my Lost Viking's Hoard Friends! Skål! (Cheers) Photo credit: Steve Kohus

Although Nissa the gnome can't stay there too long or they might sell her by accident!
Tomte Christmas tree
It's a Tomte tree! Photo credit: Steve Kohus
That being said, our Vikings who are also reenactors and like to teach as much as they like to sell (similar to the way I entertain - you might learn something about history if you aren't careful!) and have my back. The paper attached to the tomte Christmas ornaments teaches my favorite gnome tradition that I've been sharing as Nissa since the day she arrived in Willy Nilly - The Christmas Porridge. When anyone tells me how much they like or have gnomes in their home, I remind them that they have to feed them rice porridge on Christmas Eve!

For Christmas Eve dinner, families in the Nordic and Scandinavian countries start the meal with a small bowl of warm rice porridge topped with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar and a pat of butter on top called Risengrød (pronounced risen-groo with a hint of a d sound at the end.)  One lucky person at the table will find a whole almond in the bottom of their bowl and will win the almond gift – usually candy, marzipan, or other small treat.

Rice porridge recipe for the gnomes nisse tomte
Gnome porridge!

 Then you put a bowl of Risengrød (I have the Risengrød recipe on my food blog Lazy Budget chef here) outside or in your attic to thank the gnomes (Nisse in Danish, Tomte in other Scandinavian countries) for helping the farm prosper, taking care of your pets, and for protecting the family from harm that night. If you do not, the gnomes will get mad and play tricks on you. I have it on very good authority that your house gnome doesn't want to play tricks on you and begs you to please feed and thank them properly this year!

Looking for more Christmas traditions, food, decorations and ideas? Check out the following options - and more!- below!


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