Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Santa Lucia

My Little Lucia Miniature ~ She is a British Lucia, bringing Christmas Pudding & Tea! ~

Betsy McCall Celebrates Lucia Day

I first learned about Lucia Day in 1972, when Betsy McCall Paper Dolls were a regular feature in McCall's Magazine. Back in those days, I saved numerous pages and articles from my mother's holiday magazines, but for some reason, not this one. However, even without the magazine before me, I've never lost the image of Betsy as Lucia. I have heard many friends say that this was their favorite and most memorable Betsy Doll. (Thankfully, some devoted archivists out there have saved the original issue!)*
In Sweden, at least in days of yore, the occasion was observed by adorning the eldest sister with a crown of candles as she carried a tray of yellow saffron buns about the house, serving her family members breakfast in bed. The buns are formed in various shapes, depending on which legend you follow. My favorite, of course, are the Luciakatter ~ St. Lucy's Cats ~ and I like to make mine out of gingerbread rather than the traditional saffron yeast dough.

One of my favorite Carl Larsson paintings is this romantic depiction of the early morning ritual:

The Feast of St. Lucy on 13th December, 1916
More Larsson paintings: Carl Larsson Gallery

More Carl Larsson on my blog: Kitchen Windows & Celebrations

More seasonal festivities: School of Seasons

More background on St. Lucy's Day

More tips on contemporary Lucia observations

More on my Fortnightly blog: Day of Light (and related Quotidian Kit)

* And More on the topic of saving old magazines:
I recently sent the following to Seventeen Magazine.
Does anyone else remember this story?
Did anyone save a copy?

Dear Seventeen,

Many years ago -- I'm guessing December 1973 0r 1974 -- I read a story in your magazine called "The Girl Who Just Loved Christmas," about a romantic teen-aged girl who is upset the first time that her older sister brings her fiance home for Christmas because it is going to change some of the family customs, such as who gets to put the star on top of the tree. Unfortunately, I do not recall the author's name; and sadly, though I kept it for many years, I no longer have my copy of the magazine.

As you can see, I have never forgotten this favorite old story, and every year at Christmastime I always long to read it once again! I have tried searching on google, but without any luck. Can you tell me if there is a way for me to access your archives, or a way for you to do a search for me? I would be so grateful!

Happy Holidays & thanks to your magazine for so many happy memories from my girlhood!


  1. What a great collection of connections about Santa Lucia. Love the stories and the visuals.

  2. https://blog.finnfemme.com/2014/01/seventeen-magazine-and-me/comment-page-1/#comment-99565