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Santa Lucia Day: How We Celebrate

One of our favorite family traditions every holiday season is to celebrate Christmas traditions from around the world with our kids. 

Each year we add another holiday to the calendar and prepare to go all out with our celebration. The kids look forward to it every year.

This year we added Santa Lucia Day to our calendar.  Boy oh boy was Princess excited.  

She has wanted to celebrate this holiday every year since she learned about it.

There was a reason I had waited though.

Santa Lucia Day definitely takes a bit of planning and preparation. 

When you have kids with diverse needs and special dietary needs, it becomes even more of a challenge.

But we did it and it was a HUGE success! 

Here's how we celebrate Santa Lucia Day!

Santa Lucia Day: How We Celebrate

 How We Celebrate Santa Lucia Day


Clothing


The first challenge of celebrating Santa Lucia Day was to find the dress/attire for each of the kids.

The oldest daugther usually plays the part of Santa Lucia, but in some families girls in the family take turns. 

Santa Lucia wears a a white dress with a red ribbon and wreath of candles on her head.  

Santa Lucia Day Procession at Home

Boys can dress up as Star Boys and walk in procession behind Santa Lucia with candles. All boys, young and old can wear Star Boy hats. Y

Younger boys usually where a white gown or robe. Older boys and men may wear white pants and shirt.

Santa Lucia Day Attire for Boys and Girls

In our family Dinomite opted for the pants and shirt, while Bulldozer chose to wear a robe. Surprisingly, both boys were excited to wear the Star Boy hats.  I can't say that I expected that.  Lol.

Santa Lucia Day Attire for Boys and Girls in the Light

So I'm guessing you're wondering where in the world we found all of this stuff. I'm not going to lie, it was a bit of a challenge.  Here are our favorite finds!

Where to Find Clothing for Santa Lucia Day


The Crown
Our Santa Lucia Crown with candles was purchased from a Scandanavian shop in Kansas of all places. 

It's made of plastic, which means you really need to be gentle with it. But it definitely did the job. I love that it's adjustable so as my girls grow, the crown can still work.

If your oldest daughter is still too small for a real crown, the Scandanavian shop also has the most adorable crowns for babies and toddlers!

The Wreath
The candles are suppposed to be in a wreath, not just a crown. 

To remedy this we ordered a beautiful hairband from Amazon that we wrapped around the gold crown for the desired effect. 

I love that the hairband was adjustable as Princess has a really small head for her age.

The Dress
We used a white nightgown from Amazon for Princess to wear as Santa Lucia. We then picked up red ribbon from the store.

Star Boy Hat
To find hats that would fit my boys, I went to Etsy. Mindful Stitching has beautiful felt Star Boy hats that can be used for kids and adults. Both my husband and Dinomite could wear the hats with no folds. With folds, the possibilites are endless for younger kids.

White Robe 
Bulldozer's white robe is a white choir robe I found on Amazon. It worked perfectly for him! 

White Pants
Dinomite's pants were also from Amazon.  He found them to be very comfortable.

Candle Holder
Dinomite is quite sensitive to fire, so we wanted to find a candle holder that he could feel comfortable with. The candle holders that we chose from Amazon, have handles on them so Dinomite was okay with them.

Candles
Once again, to help Dinomite, I was able to find some wonderful dripless, smokeless candles from Amazon to use in the candle holders. Not worrying about the smoke or wax dripping, did wonders for Dinomite.

Santa Lucia with her Breakfast Tray

Food


Once we had our outfits all sorted out, it was time to figure out how we were going to pull off the food aspect of the holiday with all of our special dietary needs.

Typically saffron bread or Santa Lucia buns are served with coffee for the occasion. 

We don't drink coffee.

My kids won't eat anything with saffron in it.

And some of us are gluten and dairy free.

So, instead we went with the most delicious cinnamon rolls that fit all our special dietary needs from Gluten-Free Palate, served with allergy friendly hot-cocoa, which everyone enjoyed.

If you would like other more traditional ideas for Santa Lucia Day, be sure to check out our Santa Lucia Day Activities, Free Printables and More! post on the blog.

Our hot cocoa was served from our PB teapot on our PB serving tray. (Our tray is holiday themed, but that is no longer available.)

Santa Lucia Serving Breakfast

Our Santa Lucia Day procession and breakfast were a big success.  

We continued our day learning more about the Santa Lucia Day, and then ended the evening with a delicious Swedish meal!

Swedish Dinner on Santa Lucia Day

My kids had never had Swedish meatballs before. My husband and I were thrilled when EVERYONE loved them. The mashed potatoes and green beans on the side made for such a delicious dinner.

We used the Swedish Christmas meatballs recipe from Sourdough and Olives and then prepared the gravy recipe from Savory Nothings to go with them for people who wanted it. (I'm a gravy person, so I needed gravy.  Lol.)

The kids have already requested that we have this meal every year on Santa Lucia Day and can't wait to add more traditional dishes to the feast!

With a bit of planning and preparation, you too can have a fantastic Santa Lucia Day.  It turned out to be such a special holiday for us filled with so many happy memories. We hope it can be the same for you!

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How Do You Work with a Broken Mental Health System?

 After writing my last post about residential centers, I reached out to local supports for advice. 

One directed me to contact someone in a higher position of power. 

So I did.

This person made a decision to try to help in any way she could.

As a result of her actions, we learned that things are much worse for Sunshine than we thought. 

So much in fact that all parties are trying to get her out of the residential treatment center (RTC) where she currently resides. 

We are devastated as parents. 

We sent Sunshine to an RTC for help and treatment. Instead the opposite has occurred.

How do you work with a broken mental health system?

How Do You Work with a Broken Mental Health System?

A Glimpse of the Broken System

Due to legal contracts between states, we can't just go and pick Sunshine up.

Instead we wait for all parties in both states to sort out what happens next.

Apparently we are the exception to the rule in cases like this. 

Most parents decide to just relinquish their rights.

They're done and just can't fight anymore.

We will not do that.

Sunshine is our daughter. 

She deserves a loving family, just like every other child on this planet.

She may not be able to live at home with us due to safety reasons, but that doesn't mean we still can't love her unconditionally, support her treatment and healing process, and advocate for her in ways that othes can't along the way.

If she was a warrant of the state, she'd have no one.

The Unknowns

There are so many unknowns right now.

Will she be transferred to another residential treatment center?

Where will the new residential treatment center be?

Will she be sent home?

All of these questions lead to more questions.

If she is transferred to another RTC, when and how will that occur?

What will be our role in that?

If we are to go and get her, how do we keep all of our children safe?

When will we need to leave?

What can we even expect from Sunshine at this point?  

The safety of all of our children, including Sunshine is our top priority.

Keeping custody of Sunshine is also of the utmost importance.

What's Being Done?

Our community supports are working around the clock to try to find a solution that meets the needs of all in our family.

Sunshine needs help. 

Her needs are severe.

Applications to as many RTCs as we can think of are being sent out on a daily basis.

There appears to be a new program where residential treatment can occur in the home. We would have a team working with our family with staff in our home forty hours a week. 

Sunshine may qualify for this program. There may be an opening. We just don't know. 

Our community supports are working on this.

In the event that an in-home residential program is possible, it still takes time for everything to be put in place.

The Worst Case and Most Likely Scenario

If the state where Sunshine currently resides revokes the interstate contract, we will have five days to go and pick Sunshine up. 

After that five days, if we have not picked her up, she will become a warrant of the state, and we will face abandonment charges.

We are preparing to leave at a moment's notice, if and when that call comes.

Due to Sunshine's severe needs and behaviors, she can not return to our home without the necessary supports, or we risk charges of endangering the welfare of our children.

So, just like last fall, if and when we do pick Sunshine up, Sunshine will be taken to a local hotel to stay. 

My husband and I will take turns being with her, while the rest of the family remains at home.

The hotel will be in close proximity to the sherriff's office and the hospital in the event that she is in crisis and we need help immediately.

We are so thankful that we do not have to worry about COVID-19 this time around. Both my husband and I are vaccinated.

We don't know yet if Sunshine's current severity is a result of what's going on in the RTC, or if she's even more unstable than she was the last time she was at home, needing psychiatric hospitalization.

Preparations for every scenario are underway.

Helpless doesn't begin to describe how we feel as parents right now.

My daugther desperately needs long term psychiatric help, yet this option doesn't appear to exist.

If it does, we haven't found it yet.

Meanwhile we continue to figure out how to work with a broken mental health system, paving the way for change.

It is beyond frustrating and so incredibly hard.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. 

Sunshine needs help.

We desperately want her to receive that help.

The right help needs to be found immediately.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the posts below.

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