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

The following is an excerpt from How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack: Defend Yourself When the Lawn Warriors Strike (and They Will) by Chuck Sambuchino.

We're giving away two copies — leave a comment to enter!

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 2011, the Gnome Defense Hotline based in Berlin recorded 878 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.

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. Avoid 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 charity, 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'd like tips for surviving garden gnome attacks year-round, leave a comment on this post -- we're giving away two copies of the book! Winners will be chosen by random drawing. Good luck, and happy holidays!


Class 1 gnome-slayer and gnome defense expert Chuck Sambuchino has developed a proven system—Assess, Protect, Defend, Apply—for safeguarding property, possessions, and loved ones. Strategies include step-by-step instructions for gnome-proofing the average dwelling, recognizing and interpreting the signs of a gathering hoard, and—in the event that a secured perimeter is breached—confronting and combating the attackers at close range.

Chuck Sambuchino is the author of many books, including How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack, a bestselling humor/gift book that was optioned for film by Sony. Chuck is an editor for Writer’s Digest Books, a freelance book/query editor, and sleep-deprived new father. Learn all about him, his writing guides, and his humor books at chucksambuchino.com or find him on Twitter.

How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack is available at Amazon and bookstores near you.

Reprinted with permission from How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack: Defend Yourself When the Lawn Warriors Strike (and They Will) by Chuck Sambuchino, copyright © 2010. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group. Photo Credit: Andrew Parsons.

UPDATE: Due to a great holiday sales response, Amazon has sold out of How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack as of Dec. 19. However, it is still available online at Barnes & Noble and IndieBound, and in brick-and-mortar bookstores.


Authors and publishers: Want to feature your book on Neatorama for free? Email info AT neatorama DOT com for details on Neatorama's Book Excerpt feature.


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My mother used to collect those troll dolls back in the 90's, and I used to set them up in different homicidal positions around the house. I'm now wondering if this might have sparked the gnome uprising...
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The real danger is becoming so obsessed with defending yourself from the gnomes that you leave yourself open to attack from a rabid flock of carnivorous lawn flamingos.
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