The spirit of Santa Lucia makes her way to our house annually, acting like an anchor to the season. This celebration comes at a good time; while most people are focused on the material, this allows us to shift focus, reminding us of the light within. Santa Lucia is known as the light bringer in the darkness of winter. She is often depicted with a long flowing gown and a wreath crown encircled with candles. What I love about this tradition is the inner message: that there is hope at the end of the tunnel, and that we can each be our own light bringers in our lives and to those around us.
This Swedish/Italian tradition was passed on to me by a dear friend a few years ago, and I love that it is something that my children look forward to every year. While the official day may be over (falling on December 13th), it is not too late to take part in the festivities. Children are naturally attracted to the imagery of Santa Lucia, and it is a good time to pause from the normal expectations in December and simply use this time to reflect inward. Unlike most holidays, this is a celebration that doesn’t require you to buy- it’s rooted in simplicity.
Below are a couple ideas that you can do with your children. Use them as jumping off points for good conversation. Ask your children where they can shine their light in their community, what their hopes are for the new year, and how they can bring light into their daily living. For more about the history of Santa Lucia, please click here.
Santa Lucia Crowns
This year, we made traditional “hats” for our holiday. While girls are encouraged to wear wreath crowns, traditionally boys do not. Boys can be seen wearing pointy hats with yellow stars on them- below you will see what I made for my toddler son. For older boys I would suggest making an actual hat lol, but for toddlers, it’s whatever is quick and easy.
- card stock paper
- construction paper (green and yellow)
- Cut strips of card stock; staple together to create a crown (size it to the circumference of your child’s head).
- Cut out 4-8 candles from card stock. Glue and/or color flames on the tips of the candles (both sides). Staple to hat.
- Cut out leaves from green construction paper; glue to base of crown.
* For boys, follow step 1. Cut out a triangle from card stock, glue yellow stars on it, and staple to hat.
Santa Lucia Bread
Traditionally, this bread is to be made no sooner than December 13th, but can be eaten through the 25th. I typically will make it a couple times lol. We give thanks for our blessings and set intentions for the new year. For more info on this tradition, plus my delicious vegan recipe for braided Santa Lucia bread, please click here.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. Shine your light all over the world.