St. Lucia Day float + Scandinavian love

St. Lucia Day Float

Have you ever traveled somewhere and suddenly felt like you were part of the people?  Like you were meant to be there all along?
I know.  I feel that way every time I step into Target and IKEA.

Scandinavian towel

But what I wasn’t expecting was how I felt traveling through Scandinavia last year with Casey.  We’ve been to various parts of the world over the years, and when we landed in Oslo—it was like a missing part of me was suddenly found.  The people, the architecture, the colors, the design, the 7-Elevens (with free wifi), the stripes!  YES.  There was a museum exhibit all about stripes!  What?
It all felt so normal to me…..and so much, like home.

Scandinavia 1
Scandinavia 2

I suddenly felt this connection to an entire culture that embodied what I love about creative arts and design.
This is what I love!
Or in other words—I had a total DUH moment.
I guess I prefer Scandinavian design?
I guess these are sort of my people?
I do have Danish roots….so I guess it’s sort of in my blood.

Scandinavia 3
I love Scandinaviayellow house in normway on MADE
desserts in Sweden

And while I don’t mean to sound so naive…I guess what I also wasn’t expecting was how bright, and airy, and happy these old buildings made me feel.  I have traveled throughout Europe and while I love and appreciate the magnificence of the Sistine Chapel and the grand scale of Notre Dame, walking into this church brought such joy into my heart.  The bright white alone captured my eyes.  I didn’t know old churches could look this way.  It was ornate in the details, but simple in design, with a large beautiful statue of Christ at one end.

church in Scandinavia 1
church in Scandinavia 2

And on the other end was a magnificent organ, which on that early morning was playing some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard in a church–It was a spiritual moment for me.   I wish I could go back to this spot.

Well. Who knew this post would get so serious??
Haah.  This was supposed to be about Lucy’s school project!

church in Scandinavia 3
church in Scandinavia 4

But I couldn’t very well talk about St. Lucia day, without sharing my love for the Scandinavian culture and how it’s inspired me.

So.  Moving on to the less serious part of this post….
I was thrilled when Lucy came home with her assignment for their class “floats” project.  Each child was asked to make a shoebox float based on a person or an event, which they would parade down the hall and share with other classes.
And I’m sure it’s no coincidence that LUCY was given St. LUCIA Day.
Here’s what she wrote about it (which was celebrated yesterday!  December 13)

St. Lucia Day project

Thankfully she had a few points of reference to come up with the float design.  She LOVED reading the Kirsten book series by American Girl (such a sweet book set).  And as she researched more about the holiday, she remembered the cover of one of the books—an illustration of Kirsten walking into the room dressed like St. Lucia.

St. Lucia Day

She wanted to create a tray that looked just the same, with cookies, hot chocolate, and a candle-lit crown like she wears on her head.
St. Lucia Day treats
So I made some Rice Krispie treats (because they were quick, and would stack easily–I really should have made Gingerbread softies)  And for the hot chocolate, we melted vegetable shortening with some chocolate chips and mixed in a bit of yummy sugar cookie oil (it smelled amazing).  Then we poured it into some mini cups and glued fake paper handles on the sides, so they looked like mugs.  We used Oilcloth for the tray and plate.  And IKEA play spoons.

St. Lucia Day float project

The candles were made from construction paper and a small set of battery-powered star lights, which (thank you Casey) were rigged up inside each paper tube and secured under the box/float.  The crown was made of Christmas tree remnants and M&Ms.
And then came the final detail of decorating the float.  I showed Lucy some beautiful towels I had from IKEA and she mimicked the designs on the sides of the box. I loved how transformed the white box.

How to make a St. Lucia Day float

Part of the project was to give an oral report of your celebration, and I suddenly remember the beautiful St. Lucia day paper doll created by Lily + Thistle, which you can download for free HERE.

St Lucia Day paperdolls

So along with her report, we printed off paper dolls for anyone in the class who wanted one.
Then we dressed Lucy up as a modern-day Lucia and she was off to school.

St Lucia Day paper doll

It was so much fun to see the other floats out in the hallway, waiting to be trailed down the hall.
shoe box floats project

Oh how I love school!
I’m thankful every day for the great teachers and the school that my kids get to be part of.

St. Lucia Day on MADE

So from our house to yours, happy one-day-late St. Lucia’s day!

And this post has made me realize two things:
1. I need to post all the pics from our Scandinavian trip.
2. We need to celebrate St. Lucia’s day every year….maybe we’ll make gingerbread softies or saffron buns?

Do you and your family celebrate the tradition?
I’d love to know what you do!

St. Lucia Day canles
Scandinavia colors

  1. 1) Scarlet

    We celebrate Saint Nicholas day on December 6. It is a Catholic holiday and though we aren’t Catholic it makes a nice celebration for just our family since we usually go and spend Christmas with family. We have kind of made it our own. We leave our stockings out with our Christmas lists in them. Santa comes and takes the list and leaves the stocking full. Then we don’t do stockings on Christmas.

    • 2) Dana

      What a fun tradition! Thanks for sharing that. 🙂

  2. 4) Tara S

    Great post. I love the creative projects Lucy does in class. My daughter just started Kindergarten this year and I only hope she has creative teachers like Lucy’s. Doing projects are so fun. Also funny/weird timing on this post that mentions Kristen. My daughter has been on and off asking for an American doll. I’m really on the fence about getting her one so I decided to get mine from my parents attic to see if she plays with it. I was kind of obsessed with playing with dolls when I was younger. Anyway, long story short I just found Kristen in my parents attic and she still had the flower crown around her head. She is in really good condition considering she is over 20 years old.

    • 5) Dana

      That’s so awesome! I’m amazed at how well-made toys will hold up over time. Your daughter will love playing with your old doll!….assuming you want her to do that 🙂

  3. We celebrated this year for the first time! My daughter, a big Kirsten fan, shares her birthday with Lucia Day, so she begged me to help her bake lussekatter and brew coffee and tea for everyone. It was so fun, I can’t wait to do it again next year (although I need to plan on an afternoon nap if I’m going to get up so eaaaaarrrrrly).

    • 7) Dana

      That’s so awesome!
      You’re a great mom for helping her to do that. You deserve a nap 🙂

  4. I went to Oslo last fall and I’ve been dying to go back ever since. I too felt right at home. It was fantastic. I can’t wait to see more of your pics 🙂

  5. 9) Erna

    We always celebrated the day in school with a St. Lucia parade down the school corridors, singing the songs with candles on our heads even though we barely know the story, don’t think they do it much anymore. Then we would have little Christmas a week later with our class, exchange 1 present and eat piparkökur (sort of like gingerbread), cookies, tiny apples and manadrínur (clementines). The tiny apples and clementines are a big part of christmas here in Iceland as we barely saw fruit and a box of fruit was incredibly expensive and a big treat to get.
    Our traditions and old jólahymns are a lot darker and vile – 13 thieving santas that peek through the windows to see if children are being nice and if kids leave their shoe in the window they might get a small treat/gift or a rotten potato every day for the 13 days before chirstmas, their horrible baby eating mama and an enormous christmas cat that will eat you if you don’t have any new clothes.

  6. Wow! What a great post! I absolutely loved it and it’s the first thing I read today that made me want to comment. Also, I’m seriously envious of all your travels. 20 years in the US Air Force and I only saw a glimpse of the world: an armpit called South Korea and the beauty of the Azores, Portugal. I’ve always wanted to go to Scotland but now Scandinavia is also on the list.

  7. 11) Karla

    Whoa….that organ is incredible. I have tons of family there and hope to go someday. I think I would fall in love with it too. Thanks for the Christmas card…we miss you guys!

  8. 12) Michelle V

    Ok – now I totally want to go to Oslo!!

  9. I was a teacher in my other life so this brings a smile to my heart. Such a beautiful project for the kids to be involved in. Lucy must have a lovely teacher. Also, thanks for all the inspiration you have given me. I only discovered your blog via FB a few months ago and have had a lot of fun watching your videos. I love sewing, so really enjoy what you do. Merry Christmas.

  10. 14) MelissaPurls

    ADORABLE. And I’ve wanted to go to Scandinavia for years and this makes me want to even more.

  11. Now I want to go on holiday!!! I love all the colourful buildings and so much history

  12. I now have another place to add to my See Someday List!

  13. 17) Margaret Novy

    I have a Swedish heritage, and loved reading your post. You should definitely make saffron buns!!

    God Jul!

  14. 18) Alexandra

    I live in Verona (Italy) and St. Lucia is part of the tradition here (and only here apparently). If you move 100km South, North, etc from Verona, nobody knows about this tradition as everybody else celebrates Santa Claus.
    I need to find out why only here in Verona as there are no Scandinavian influences.

  15. 19) Minna

    Hi, I stumbled in here and seen a pic from the old town of Stockholm. I’m from Stockholm so was nice seeing a post about St Lucia as we have celebrated her since I was born. Awesome

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