Skip to main content

5 Life-Saving Techniques for Surviving a Garden Gnome Attack During the Holidays

Keep reading if you want to live.


Garden gnome attacks rise sharply during the holidays. This phenomenon is because people’s affection for Santa’s elves causes them to confuse friendly North Pole helpers with the vicious murdering murderers known as garden gnomes (gnomus hortus).

We must always remember that while gnomes enjoy a public image whitewash that passes them off as symbols of merriment and goodwill, they are secretly planning home invasions all over the world in a grand plan of evisceration and death. (Wait a minute—does that gnome look a little closer to the pet door than yesterday? Better board up the house just to be safe.) While we don’t know why gnomes attack us—for our metal? our spices?—we can be certain that they want us all dead. In 2016, the Gnome Defense Hotline based in Berlin has recorded 1,017 confirmed attacks worldwide.

If you live anywhere close to garden gnomes or reside on rural property near the woods, rest assured that an assault is not “possible.” It is inevitable. They’re coming. The only question is when.

With that in mind, here are 5 simple tips for keeping you and your family safe from garden gnomes during the holiday season. Do not ignore these life-saving techniques. Many humans have died to bring you this concise, helpful information.



This fun post is excerpted from my humor book, HOW TO SURVIVE A GARDEN GNOME ATTACK (Ten Speed Press). The book has been featured by USA Today, AOL News, Reader's Digest, and more.

It's saving lives around the world after being translated into several languages, and the film rights were optioned by Sony.

Just in time for a holiday gift, you can buy it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound. Photo Credits: Andrew Parsons.


1. Forget building a snowman.

A large snowman is a perfect Trojan Horse for a garden gnome to occupy before it bursts out like in the movie Alien and mauls you with tiny weapons and horrific shrieks. One minute you’re placing the corncob pipe in Frosty’s mouth thinking it the pièce de résistance in your snow creation, the next minute you’ve got a tiny gnome ax embedded in your shoulder while fighting for your life on the snowy ground in your backyard.

Note: One of the most underrated weapons against gnomes is a good, sturdy snow shovel. When outside during wintertime, keep a snow shovel on hand at all times. In fact, this touches upon a bigger tip: Keep a weapon mounted on the wall in every room of your home to always be ready for when a lawn gnome armada invades.

2. Record unexplained footprints in the snow.

Gnomes will actively case and probe a location before striking. It’s hard for them to get their bulbous bodies around the yard without leaving some tiny tracks. So when you see diminutive markings in the fresh snow outside your house, please ignore your spouse’s insane opinion about how “they’re probably from those cute squirrels!” and automatically assume the worst. If you see tracks, that is what’s called “A Gnome Close Encounter of the First Kind” and it means Gnome Attack D-Day is coming up fast. It’s time to fortify the house and put a cap on the chimney.

Note: If you hear something coming down the chimney during the holidays, instead of pulling out some milk & cookies for Santa’s jolly arrival, may I suggest loading a double-barreled shotgun so you can blow your lawn gnome intruder(s) straight to the bowels of hell.


3. Take note of unusual Christmas tree ornaments.

Normal tree decorations are fine. Stick with shiny ball-shaped ornaments, garland, lights, and a star at the top. But here’s the problem: The second you start adding all kinds of unusual adornments, then the tree becomes a great opportunity for a small warrior gnome to hang itself on the tree and pretend to be just another harmless item. Then, when you come close to pose for that adorable family photo with all your purposefully-bad sweaters (how fun!), that’s when the bearded agent of death leaps from its branch perch to your fleshy neck. The last thing you’ll think is how ironic it is that a gnome used your own holiday garland to strangle you to death.

Note: Lit Hanukkah candles are also a major no-no. Go with plastic, electric lights. If you have an open flame in the house, a garden gnome will use it to light his miniature Molotov cocktail right before chucking it at your loved ones.

4. Protect the eggnog.

Garden gnomes are highly adept at potions and alchemy. An easy way for them to take over the house is to simply poison the humans inside. So, on that note, make sure that you’re always keeping an eye on open punch bowls and eggnog supplies.

Note: Brave individuals have been known to turn this attack back on the attackers. This is how you do it: Next to an open eggnog bowl that you’ve “mistakenly” left unattended, place a mug of fine ale and some juicy gumdrops—both of which are, naturally, laced with rat poison. When that fat gnome comes in to kill you, they’ll smell the sweet scent of tasty goodies and chow down only to die 2 minutes later. Then, when you come across the dead gnome on your dining room table, may I suggest the gruesome-yet-effective strategy of hanging him outside for all other gnomes to see so they will promptly crap their tiny trousers and hopefully leave you the hell alone.

5. Be wary of “Christmas lights” in the wrong locations.


One precursor to a gnome hoard attack is “dancing lights” that catch your attention as they reflect around a room. This is an especially acute problem during the holidays, because you may mistake this telltale sign as mere holiday lights that another family put up in a different area. Just as you’re thinking to yourself I should really thank Sally for putting up these new lights that project mirth and good will, garden gnomes rappel down from the ceiling and attack your head while others shoot coordinated mini-arrows into your ankles. At that point, you’re totally screwed.

Note: Other precursors to a full-fledged assault include the following: unexplained sawdust around the house, the smell of pipe smoke, the power going out, and a missing pet.


If you are looking for a holiday gift for that humor lover or gardener in your life, here's your chance.

You can buy HOW TO SURVIVE A GARDEN GNOME ATTACK on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

How To Create a Podcast, Develop an Audience, and Get Your Novel Published

How To Create a Podcast, Develop an Audience, and Get Your Novel Published

We’ve discussed podcasting to help promote the book you’ve written—but what about podcasting as a way to tell the story itself? Here, author Liz Keller Whitehurst discusses how the podcast of her novel, Messenger, came to be.

Hunter or Hunted?

Hunter or Hunted?

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, we're in the middle of a hunt.

Announcing the Get Published in 2022: Breaking In Resource Directory

Announcing the Get Published in 2022: Breaking In Resource Directory

Announcing the Get Published in 2022: Breaking In Resource Directory from Writer's Digest magazine, which includes advice from 41 agents, 39 debut authors, and 27 small presses.

The Idaho Review: Market Spotlight

The Idaho Review: Market Spotlight

For this week's market spotlight, we look at The Idaho Review, a literary journal accepting poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction submissions.

Abbreviation vs. Acronym vs. Initialism (Grammar Rules)

Abbreviation vs. Acronym vs. Initialism (Grammar Rules)

Learn when you're using an abbreviation vs. acronym vs. initialism with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

What Is Investigative Journalism?

What Is Investigative Journalism?

Alison Hill breaks down the definition of investigative journalism, how good investigative journalism makes for sweeping societal change, and how the landscape of the work is evolving.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: 6 WDU Courses, an Upcoming Virtual Conference, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce six new WDU courses, a romance writing virtual conference, and more!

Going From Me to We: Collaborating on the Writing of a Novel

Going From Me to We: Collaborating on the Writing of a Novel

Past experiences taught bestselling author Alan Russell to tread lightly when it came to collaborating on projects. Here, he discusses how the right person and the right story helped him go from a “me” to a “we.”

From Script

Short Film Goals, Writing the Cinematic Experience on the Page and Sundance Film Festival 2022 (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, set your creative goals with a monthly guide to write and produce your short film, provided by Script contributor Rebecca Norris Resnick. Plus, an exclusive interview with Academy Award-winning screenwriter William Monahan, a Sundance Film Festival 2022 day one recap, and more!