The tomtes (in Germany, kobolds) are a pre-Christian race of spirit beings well-known to the north Europeans. Generally, they are considered to be spirits of place who become familiars of a household. The tomte is a short (three feet or so) elderly man of unpredictable disposition, attired in grey woolen clothes and wearing a red cap.
Unlike their English cousins, the gnomes, who most frequently dwell in the countryside, tomtes reside in towns, houses, barns or cellars. They live only where there is cleanliness, order and discipline.
A tomte or nisse is a mythical creature of Scandinavian folklore originating from Norse paganism. Tomte or Nisse were believed to take care of a farmer's home and children and protect them from misfortune, in particular at night, when the housefolk were asleep. Tomte is the common Swedish name, derived from his place of residence and area of influence: the house lot or tomt. _Wikipedia