In the dark of a cold, windy morning, I met her in the kitchen. She was dressed in a gown of white with a red silk sash. Upon her head sat a crown of candles, nestled into an evergreen wreath. The candles illuminated her face in the darkness and I could see excitement dancing in her eyes. On this morning, for the first time ever, she was Lucia.
Quietly, she went about her duties, arranging plates of homemade lussekatter buns (recipe here) and pepparkakor, traditional Swedish ginger cookies. She poured cream into freshly brewed coffee. Then ever-so-carefully she made her rounds, delivering her treats to each family member in their beds. She visited DaddyBird first, followed by Nana, Papa and finally (after I snuggled back in bed), me.
As she entered each room, Lucia's sweet voice softly sang the words to a simple Santa Lucia song she'd memorized the day before. In the quiet darkness of the early morning, her glowing presence was nothing short of magical.
Under the weather, Lucia's "attendant" slept through the bedside visits. So upon waking, Lucia presented her with a plate of goodies. She ate them reverently, by candlelight, in honor of this seasonal celebration of light.
Although St. Lucia Day is not linked with traditions of gift-giving, each of my gals received a new holiday outfit - simply wrapped in a red ribbon, with a candle card. This is a tradition I hope to carry on annually, as it is clear to me now that St. Lucia Day will be part of our winter holiday celebrations for many years to come.