First published in Nordstjernan on Dec. 2, 2004:
The Swedish holiday of St. Lucia usually coincides with the third of Advent. As you light the third candle in your adventsljusstake, get ready for the blonde saint dressed in white to appear on your doorstep with light and holiday goodies.
A special treat around this time of year is the Lucia Bun, lussebulle. Saffron gives this special bun a nice, golden glow, and raisins assist in the creation of imaginary shapes. Some prefer the traditional S-shaped buns. In my family, we have always baked a double S, which gives the appearance of a kringla, or a large saffron man covered in raisins from head to toe.
By the third Sunday of Advent, all your holiday cards should be written, addressed, signed and sent. Some people begin early, but the post office deadline sneaks up on you quickly and Christmas is closer than you think.
No matter what preparations you decide to partake in prior to Christmas, it is important to enjoy the process of baking, cooking, cutting and designing. If your creations turn out to be less than perfect, remember that it's not the end result that matters - it's the fact that you carry on a (Swedish) tradition and enjoy the holiday season with your loved ones.