I am so happy with how my DIY Saint Lucia crown turned out. I have always longed to have Swedish heritage. (It’s a great excuse to use their traditions) They are such good people and their Christmas traditions always sounded like so much fun! And with my Ancestry DNA Kit results coming in next month I might just get my wish. But I have failed to find any Swedish blood so far. But I found a fun way to incorporate their traditions when my daughter and I started reading about Kirsten, an American Girl.
My client/friend told me about these books years before I had daughters. I thought they sounded wonderful. The books are about girls from all kinds of backgrounds in different parts of American history. As a child I was never interested in history. But as an adult, as I have enjoyed reading about people in different periods, my interest in history has grown. I’m not crazy about dates and war. But as war and events related to people and stories I have found it quite interesting.
And my daughter was so excited to show her dad her new books because they were about America and history. Both things he loves! I was excited to share these wonderful stories about girls with my daughter. It would give us the chance to discuss history and be a teaching opportunity for her. And she would be able to relate to and admire a variety of girls throughout history. Have I mentioned I love books with strong female leads? Especially with history as it is usually told through a male perspective.
Just this month we started reading about Kirsten, a Swedish pioneer who is traveling to America with her family to have a new opportunity. And these books aren’t all fluff. Because they are based off history there are some hard things that happen. She deals with traveling across the ocean, trying to learn English, and missing her doll. One event (SPOILER) is when her friend Marta dies from cholera. Pretty intense. But historically accurate. Georgiana asked why my voice was different (I was emotional) and I told her I was sad about Marta. She reminded me “it’s okay, she’s with Heavenly Father now” and I acknowledged she was right, but that it was still sad.
I can’t believe how much she is retaining and how much she is loving these books! She begs for another chapter every time we finish one. I made sure we finished ‘Kirsten’t Surprise’ before Saint Lucia’s Day as the story tells all about her first Christmas in America.
Saint Lucia’s Day is typically celebrated in Scandinavian countries. Kirsten taught us that a daughter in the family would wake up when it was still dark on December 13th and make her family special rolls. She would put on a white dress and a red sash and wear a crown or wreath that had candles. She would wake up her family, visiting her parents first, saying “Saint Lucia invites you to breakfast.” The 13th is Winter Solstice and to help help bring light she signals the arrival of Christmas time. Saint Lucia was a martyr who brought food and aid to Christians hiding in the catacombs using a candle-lit wreath. This made it possible for her to carry more supplies.
I love remembering heroes or saints who helped others. And as our family is striving to help #LightTheWorld with acts of kindness I love this sweet tradition. My daughter loved serving her family. And as our family sat around the table on a dark and cold morning eating warm rolls and drinking coco (instead of coffee) I was happy I could serve my family waking up early to make them this special Christmas treat.
I found a recipe for Saffron Rolls or Saint Lucia Buns from Sprinkle Bakes. They tasted great and the recipe was pretty easy as far as bread goes. But it was a little tricky finding saffron, as it’s not a spice I’ve ever used before. I love the design of these buns as you wrap them into an S. I didn’t have Swedish Sugar Peals so I used raw sugar I had on hand. I love that her recipe didn’t include raisins as I think they are gross. But feel free to add some.
My daughter was thrilled to carry a tray with rolls, coco, and a candle like Kirsten did for her family. My boys had no idea what she was talking about when she woke them for breakfast. But I’m not surprised they got up quickly when they saw warm rolls and coco. And they were so sweet to tell her she looked lovely. Also I’m so thankful for battery operated candles. And I’m sure our fire department is thankful too.
Her crown was my favorite. And seriously easy to make. I’m happy I can share with you how to make your own. I made it adjustable so she can continue to wear it as she grows. I’m hoping it will become a family treasure.
DIY Saint Lucia Crown
- green felt. I prefer two colors at least
- red felt
- white felt
- yellow felt
- hot glue gun
First measure your child’s head. I took a green long rectangle about 7 inches tall and cut it the length of her head. Fold and sew it together. Don’t worry about turning it out so the seams aren’t visible. We are just going to cover it with leaves. And leave the sides open.
Make a paper template for your leaf. Continue to cut leaves till you have enough to cover your band.
Hot glue your felt leaves on to your band. I apologize for the lack of pictures. It was very late at night. Add red felt circles and attach with hot clue.
Cut 5 small white rectangles for your candles. Then cut 5 small flames with your yellow felt.
Fold your candle in half (this will help it be more stable) start sewing up one side. As you turn to sew the top slip your flame inside so you sew the flame on. Sew till the fold and back stitch.
Glue your candles on the inside of your crown with hot glue.
Cut two ribbons for the back. Hand stitch them on the ends of the band so you can tie the band around your child’s head.
I’m so thankful our family was able to try a new tradition and learn about other counties. I know studying history and seeking to learn from others will help teach my children love and tolerance to those who are different. It’s a beautiful thing to celebrate others and spread the light they share. Family traditions create wonderful memories and strengthen family bonds. And I could see my daughter experience joy as she was able to serve others. I would love to hear more about Swedish traditions or family traditions from your heritage. Please feel free to share your favorite ones in the comments below.
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