The Swedish Institute's annual festivities.
Continuing: Some cultures have Santa. Swedes have Tomte. According to Swedish tradition, every home has a Tomte or Christmas elf, but the playful creature doesn't appear unless invited. This year, dozens of Tomtes are hiding throughout the American Swedish Institute's castle-like home, just waiting to be spied by eagle-eyed kids. A human-sized Tomte has even promised to appear at the ASI's Christmas Market (10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 1; noon-5 p.m. Dec. 2), where local artisans will sell their wares and visitors can warm up at an outdoor fire pit while watching performances by local dancers and musicians. December activities include storytime, screenings of Christmas cartoons, ornament-making workshops, an attic play area for kids, gingerbread-house decorating, a Tomte hide-and-seek hunt (10:30 a.m. Dec. 15 and 18), and the Lucia Celebration, Sweden's traditional festival of light and song (2:30 p.m. Dec. 8). Plus, the castle's baronial entrance hall and ornate parlors will sparkle with traditional Nordic holiday decorations, including the Swedish dining room shown above. Some events require advance registration and may be sold out. (Ends Jan. 13, $7 adults, $4 ages 6-18. American Swedish Institute, 2600 Park Av. S., Mpls. 612-871-4907 or www.asimn.org) E