"Come on, Mom! The snow is turning blue!"
It was true. Even on the shortest day of the year, the morning was coming too quickly.
"Don't worry," I assured Junie B., as I helped her adjust her red-sashed white dress, and placed her St. Lucy crown upon her head. "All we have to do is light the candle, and you're on your way!"
She already had the pillar candle in hand. Taz had gotten up too soon, and, having been allowed to watch as we put this year's version of St. Lucy's bread into the oven, was shoo'd back up to bed to be officially greeted by the good Saint.
A quick flick of the fireplace lighter and an obligatory picture or two, and St. Lucy was on her way.
Christmas Week 2008 was officially underway!
Celebrating St. Lucy is a new custom with our family, but it has fast become one of our favorite family traditions. Oh, sure; we celebrate it our own way, on a day that works for us -- well after December 13. In fact, in our home, the Sunday before Christmas is now marked as "St. Lucy's Breakfast Day" -- with a menu including a special homemade bread, sausage omeletes made by our very own family chef (she's done with culinary school, as of last week! It's official!), and hot cocoa.
This year, the bread of choice was a 90-minute cinnamon bun recipe found at allrecipes.com, that Junie B. and I began working on at 6:00 AM. We placed the buns in a round pan to form a Crown. It was not as fancy as the bread we made last year, but certainly special enough -- especially with a drizzle of confectioners' sugar glaze, a sprinkling of chopped pecans, and a few tastefully arranged glazed red and green cherries!
The table was moved to the center of the living room, where we enjoyed our special candlelight breakfast on our best dishes. The cozy warmth of the woodstove fire and the gentle glow of the Christmas tree surrounded us, as the seven of us shared a rare meal with all of us together.
I'd say it doesn't get any better than this ... but it isn't even Christmas yet!
And it really does get better. Every year.