The gonk toy is different from the gnome-style gonk and is a novelty toy that was invented in the 1960s by Robert Benson and has a furry texture, small, spherical body and googly eyes placed just above halfway up its body. They would often be dressed in themed outfits such as Merseybeat Rockers.
They were initially introduced to the UK market and then expanded to the US and Canadian ones with some success. They were featured in a Romeo and Juliet style movie called Gonks Go Beat which was directed by Robert Hart-Davis that was released in 1965.
Gonks Go Beat
Gonks Go Beat is a movie about two people who are forced to keep their relationship secret for fear of being rebuffed by society. The film features 16 musical numbers performed by various artists, including Lulu and the Luvvers, members of the Graham Bond Organisation including Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce and Dick Heckstall-Smith and also The Nashville Teens.
What is a gnome-style gonk?
The first mention of a gnome-style Gonk was in Norway, and possibly even as early as the 13th century. He’s said to safeguard homes from evil or harm with his short temper but is also known for being mischievous!
What does a gonk have to do with Christmas?
They protect their owners’ homes during winter solstice and the Christmas festive season. Many people associate them, as they often do with gnomes, with Xmas mainly due to their appearance which is to have a beard, round belly and often wear red or green clothing so share many similarities. They originate from Scandanavian folklore and tales which also relates to Christmas in many ways.
Christmas Gonks will often be dressed in big coats and have a hat on, often red or green and have other Xmas related accessories such as sledges and big boots. Many people sell them as Christmas decorations such as tree decorations or items that can be placed around your home.
Why are They so Popular at Christmas?
This will be due to a number of factors; possible the main one being that they look very similar to Santa Claus which makes them perfectly placed to be given a Santa-style look. This means giving them a red outfit and the same kind of boots that they big man has every year too. They also have the beard and big belly, of course, which all adds up to them almost looking the same!
Another reason will be that they are great for placing around the house, in addition to being outside, and are fun to look at so people naturally like having them and Christmas is the perfect time to decorate a house with all kinds of lovely ornaments.
As various forms of gnome ornaments are easy to make, people enjoy using them in various ways such as hanging them off trees, as plush ornaments to be placed on a couch alongside cushions, place card holders, and as little fluffy characters that work well alongside napkins.
What is the difference between a gnome and a GONK?
Gonks are small figures with long beards and knitted hats and many think of them as being the Nordic version of Santa Claus/Father Christmas. Many people say that they are inspired by garden gnomes, particularly those described in Scandanavian folklore and over time they have become more popular amongst the mainstream and this popularity is continuing to increase especially with people more easily able to buy them via the internet.
It is believed that they were first found in tales in the 1600s with many thinking that they originate from the 13th century. Many people associate them with Christmas gnomes even though they are different with their faces being entirely covered by their hat and beard. Their nose is the most distinctive part of their face and they are believed to be responsible for protecting their owner’s home during winter and Christmas.