OSLO, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- A lady from western Norway has collected Norwegian Santa Claus-like "nisse" dolls in 30 years and decorated her home with more than 2,000 of them in Christmas season, newspaper Aftenposten reported Monday.
"I have always been fond of decorating for Christmas and nisse are my favorite. They make me feel good," Laila Simonsen told the paper, adding that she has lost the count, but expect to have around 2,080 nisse.
A nisse is a mythological creature from Nordic folklore typically associated with the winter solstice and the Christmas season.
Simonsen's nisse dolls are in numbered bags and get the same place in the apartment every year, the report said.
Starting as early as September, it takes her two to three weeks to get all of them in place.
"I take a little every day and enjoy myself in this work," the report quoted her as saying.
Ane Ohrvik, a cultural historian and associate professor at the University of Oslo, explained that the nisse comes in many different outfits. "We have the big international Christmas nisse that comes from the North Pole with a sled full of presents for well-behaved children. Then we have the little Norwegian nisse. It has a quite different origin," she said.
According to Ohrvik, Norwegian nisse is an underground creature that lives in a barn and helps with the farm work. It has, however, somewhat harsh temperament so can take revenge in case it feels overlooked by farmers.
Nisse has also been an important symbol of national feeling in Norway. During World War II, the nisse's cap was a symbol of resistance to occupation powers.
The historian noted that the only common denominator that Santa Claus and nisse have is that they are both figures that represent today's Christmas celebration.
The tradition of dressing up as a nisse and sharing Christmas presents came to Norway in the late 1800s.