Thursday, January 3, 2013

Our Swedish Santa Lucia

 It's me, I'm back two days in a row. Shocking isn't it? Anyway, I wanted to post some Christmas stuff before it was Valentine's day or Easter. That's about the rate I was going there for a while. I especially wanted to document something very sweet and special that we started this year (and that I have been dreaming of and planning for forever). This year we started the tradition of Santa Lucia. I will explain below when we get to those photos.

Prepare for picture overload. I don't have much time so I'm doing it all in one post!
 I stuffed all of the cards we got into our wreaths and I LOVED looking at everyone. If you don't see your card, it probably got added later. Which reminds me, I still need to mail some....

 Maddy was sick and out of school for about a week. Then we had Christmas break. By the end of it all, she was getting really restless but she was still not feeling great. So we did this craft I saw on one of my all time favorite blogs, Whatever. It turned out SO cute.
 You paint the paper and then rip it to make the shape of the tree. Maddy had a blast.
 fun straws. funny fact, I bought these and then my mom came and had bought me the same exact ones. she's my soul mate (after john of course)
 these came highly recommended and i loved them
 another sick day advent craft
 she is just my sweetheart. those braids just about do me in.
 i got an email saying that one of my favorite stores was having everything in the store for 12 dollars. so i made my poor kids go with me and we got Maddy a christmas dress for her that was usually 50 for 12. We also bought her an outdoor coat too that is really warm.
 It wasn't the right size, but we finagled it a bit at home and it worked out and that also means it will work for next year too!
 The Weatherbees came!! It was the BEST part of Christmas and they were so wonderful to have here. Grandpa Gordon did some babysitting a few times so that I could take my Mom to look at some houses we are considering buying and I owe him big. BIG. Love you Gordon! (funny fact, he couldn't remember Grant's middle name. funnier fact, Grant's middle name was named after Gordon's middle name, which is Dean. Guess the honor escaped him ha!)

 how poor M looked the majority of the week leading up to Christmas. She had the flu and pink eye and a sore throat and a cough plus throwing up. i HATE the flu. in case you were wondering
 grandma W brought fun things, including burger king crowns which sorta made me laugh, but the kids loved them and decorated them with stickers. grandmas are smart.

 grandmas are also cute when they wear reindeer hats. p.s. my mom's hair always looks nicer than mine. way nicer.
 My Mom set the table with lots of cute little things like mini-stockings to hold utensils and wind up penguins and christmas crackers.
 we all looked awesome with our cracker crowns
 some people refused to be crowned
 I attempted the double crown/snowflake headband. it was a fashion risk
 for which i was amply rewarded
 I could not get enough of my Mom's pepper jelly. our next house we are going to grow jalapeno peppers and I am going to can my own pepper jelly. it's that good.

 now on to Santa Lucia. There seem to be several versions of this story, but the one I liked best is here. Basically Lucia was a girl who dressed in white and had her hands full of bread to feed the starving people in her village. She had no hands free, so she wore a crown of lights on her head. It is traditional for the eldest daughter in the family to make a special Saffron bun (and coffee but we used hot chocolate) and take them to her family. It is usually on a different day, but we have adapted it to Christmas Eve.
 I found her white dress at the thrift store (since I can't really sew) and bought a sash at the craft store. I bought the candle wreath from a special Swedish import store and added the leaves and berries myself.
 We made the buns using this recipe and everyone was surprised by how delicious they ended up being! (the dark spots are raisins tucked into the swirls).

 Usually the oldest daughter makes the rolls herself, but we helped this year. in fact, daddy ended up doing a lot of it because I had to run errands after I mixed the dough and it needed several risings.
 This is my favorite picture of them all. Thank goodness my Mom's phone camera is so good!

 After Maddy served everyone we told the story of St. Lucia and why it is important to serve others not only during Christmas, but all year. It was such a sweet tradition, and Maddy felt SO proud. She helped with every part of the process--picking out the dress and sash, the buns, serving, everything. She talked about it for weeks beforehand. Part of why I wanted to do this tradition is not only because we have strong family roots in Sweden (and Denmark), but also because I love that it is a special tradition for the oldest daughter. There seem to be so few of those out there, and I am so happy that my family history includes something so special.
 Because this was the first year, we really wanted to make it doubly special. I wanted to buy her the Kirsten doll, which is an American Girl doll whose backstory is that she is a swedish immigrant. They have been discontinued, but you can still buy them on ebay. However, these dolls cost quite a bit. I was stumped about what to do until I figured out that I could buy one that was in good condition except that her hair had been cut and then I can send her into the "doll hospital" that American Girl has and they will replace her hair (well actually her entire head) for less than what it would cost for me to buy a new doll! So I was able to buy her a real American Girl doll for much cheaper and we will have her hair fixed (eventually. She plays with her so much that I need to wait a few weeks before prying her away). She LOVED her and was in awe how Kirsten came in a Santa Lucia outfit too (courtesy of Etsy). It was a very special experience for me to see something that I had dreamed of literally since I was a little girl come true. We then read the Christmas story all together and sang while candles glowed around the room. It was a wonderful night and I was so happy to have had my parents there to share it with us.
 And here is Maddy and Kirsten waiting to open presents on Christmas morning.
And eventually sleepy Grant joined the crowds until Grandma and Grandpa woke up. Ok whew that was a lot and I am sure I have more to go, but that's all I have time for. Sorry if this was a boring post, but it was a really amazing time for us!


Missy said...

What a great tradition! I love hearing about traditions. Cambree wanted an American girl doll but I was too cheap and just got her a knock-off. Too bad I didn't know about your plan! And our card looks so cute in your wreath!

Emily Foley said...

I've never heard of that story before but now I want to do it! I love that it involves the daughter. Awesome.

Also, can I say that sometimes I think it's pretty cool that your mom is my first cousin and not you? Not that I don't want you for a first cousin but you know what I mean. I hope. I love Mormon families.

That American Girl doll is terrific! I never would have thought to buy a used one and have it fixed. You really are a thrifty genius. I think my husband wishes he married you. Also, your hair looks great, especially with your crown.

RaeLynn said...

What a fun tradition! I love how seriously she took it. That will be such a fun memory for her to have. Those oreo things looks marveous and it looks like your Christmas was awesome!

Johan said...

Nice to read your story!

Here is the swedish luciacelebration om swedish tv...