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Brighten the Holidays with Scandinavian Gifts

Bjorn Wiinblad Eva vases on a red background

Are you wondering what to get the person on your list who has everything? Or maybe you want to branch out from giving the same chocolates and gift cards every year and surprise your recipients with something unique? This year, consider gifting Scandinavian handicrafts – from lovable felted gnomes, to bouncing Bumbles, to shimmering votives, Copenhagen has a wide assortment of Scandinavian gifts, both traditional and modern.

More than simply cute or colorful, these items strive to embody hygge, often translated as “coziness.” Originating in Danish culture, hygge is about “surrounding yourself with [all] the things that make life good,” from food to family to festive settings.

Colette Pedersen, sales associate at Copenhagen, loves celebrating her Danish heritage and channeling hygge through various holiday traditions. She says, “We celebrate the 4 Sundays of Advent by lighting candles every Sunday. On these days, we serve Christmas cookies and bake Aebleskiver [spherical pancakes], heat a pot of Glogg [hot toddy], and serve hot chocolate for the children.”

Below, find Pedersen’s recommendations for one-of-a-kind Nordic holiday gifts sold at Copenhagen.

Åsas Tomtebod Gnomes

Tomtes, or gnomes, are traditional figures from Scandinavian folklore. Also called nisser in Denmark and Norway, these friendly spirits were believed to look after the well-being of the farmstead and all the creatures that lived there. Fittingly, Åsas Tomtebod gnomes were first made in a woodland house in Småland, Sweden. After its inception in 1993, Åsas Tomtebod has gained an international following for the quirky appearance and woolly feel of their tomtes.

Pedersen says, “In Denmark, nisser are a huge part of Christmas, more so than Santa Claus. Åsas gnomes are such a keepsake – everybody in the family should have one.”

The Lill Claes Gnome features striped mittens and a festive red and white knit cap that appears to be pulled down over his eyes for a humorous effect. His grey beard is made from Gotland sheep wool and has a soft, curly texture.

Lady Sigrid is another tomte seeking a home to brighten up this winter. Featuring a red wool dress, poseable arms with white mittens, and fluffy pigtails, Lady Sigrid makes a great gift for holiday enthusiasts of all ages.

With a smaller size that makes him handy to use as an “elf on the shelf,” the Gustav Tomte has a wooden body outfitted with felt clothing, plus an oversized knit cap and a charming smile.

Holiday Hoptimists

The first Hoptimists were created in the late 1960’s by Danish woodworker Hans Gustav Ehrenreich. Featuring a large, rounded head that bounced on a spring mounted to a smaller body, Hoptimists won the hearts of many with their joyful, energetic movement, and have since become part of Danish design history.

Hoptimists have two variations – a “Bimble” with closed, smiling eyes and a “Bumble” with open eyes and a small stick atop its head. Their variety of sizes, colors, and themes make Hoptimists “a unique gift with a personalized touch,” says Pedersen.

Featuring a Santa hat, mustache, and beard, the Santa Claus Bumble creates a quintessentially Christmassy feel. The Angel Bimble comes with wings, a halo, and a light color scheme that makes it great to display year-round, while the Lime IQ Bumble sports a tasseled cap that makes it an ideal gift for a grad.

Bjørn Wiinblad Eva Collection

An icon of Danish design, Bjørn Wiinblad was born in 1918 and apprenticed in typography before pursuing his dream of becoming an artist. In 1943, he began exploring ceramics – decorating dishes, bowls, and other items with bright patterns and drawings of smiling women. Wiinblad’s Eva series, reimagined by Rosendahl of Denmark, brings back illustrations from his best-known work, featuring pots, vases, and candleholders with the design of a smiling woman in a patterned dress.

“The Eva series is iconic,” says Pedersen, “not only used around Christmas with seasonal flowers and ornaments, but also displayed year-round – their soft colors go with any style of home décor.”

Try showing off a bouquet in the Pink Eva Vase featuring a lively dotted pattern – and why not pair her with the Light Blue Eva Candleholder as a companion? For the person on your list with a green thumb, the Eva Flowerpot offers a whimsical place to grow their favorite flowers, herbs, or succulents.

Omaggio Nuovo Collection

The Omaggio Nuovo series is made by Kähler, a Danish ceramics company founded by Herman Kähler in 1839. With a history of collaborating with eminent Danish artists and craftspeople, Kähler has expanded over the years but maintained its legacy of quality handmade ceramics. The Omaggio Nuovo vases and flowerpots were designed by Ditte Reckweg and Jelena Nordentoft, and are a reinterpreted version of their popular Omaggio collection that debuted in 2008.

With minimalist patterning that alternates between wide and narrow stripes, plus a range of cheerful colors from Blue to Green to Terracotta, the Omaggio Nuovo pieces will harmonize with virtually any interior. Try using these vases to show off flowers and houseplants, use them as fun storage for supplies and utensils, or display them on their own to let their simple beauty brighten up a room.

Kosta Boda Votives

Founded in the forests of Småland, Sweden in 1742, Kosta Boda has a centuries-long legacy of producing exquisite glassworks. Originally making windowpanes and drinking glasses for royalty and aristocrats, Kosta Boda “reinvented the art of Swedish glass” in the early 1900’s to give it its own distinctive flair. Today, this company sells a range of finely crafted items from drinkware to sculptures to votives.

“Long winter nights are the perfect time to light up candles,” Pedersen says, “and Kosta Boda’s clear glass votives bring a sparkle of light to make everything cozier.”

Try the Snowball Votive with its textured surface to bring a touch of winter magic indoors, or the Ice Cube Votive for a delicate, crystalline look. The Amour Votive with its heart shape makes a great romantic gift – or give it to anyone near to your heart to brighten their nights.

Finally, if you’re looking for a high-impact gift that will really wow the recipient, consider Copenhagen’s Stressless® charity promotion. Norwegian-made Stressless® recliners are loved worldwide for their incomparable comfort, and now you can save hundreds on Stressless® seating with a donation to an eligible charity.

Holiday shopping can be daunting. But with Copenhagen’s friendly associates and selection of high-quality, lovingly crafted Scandinavian gifts, you’re sure to find presents that are a joy to both give and receive.