December 08, 2008

"The Christmas Girl."

In my house, every year during the Christmas Holidays, a special statue of a young girl is always on display in my window. She is dressed in red and holds a basket of apples in one hand and a candle in the other. The girl is sculpted according to a well known Christmas drawing by a famous Swedish painter Carl Larsson, representing his daughter Brita.

This is indeed a very familiar and traditional image to all Swedes and the name of the drawing is "Brita As Idun". Idun is the name of a Goddess in the Norse Mythology, which is indicative off youth or the forever young, thus the apple symbolism. Brita as Idun can be found often depicted on Christmas cards and printed on table clothes and other fabrics. Or painted on china and made into pottery or small statues, such as the one in my possession.

I was given this "Christmas Girl" as gift about 7 years ago while spending Christmas with my parents in Sweden. On the day of Christmas Eve, while my mother stayed in to prepare dinner, my father, me, my sister and her husband went to a small pottery shop that was still open; it was magical to be there. My father bought two of these "Christmas Girls" statues; one for me and for my sister. He and my mother already had one themselves; that is where the inspiration originated the previous day.

The girl has since then become almost a family symbol of the holidays. Gazing at Brita while she smiles and holds a lit candle makes me feel closer to my family, which is spread all over Europe. It warms my heart knowing that my family members are perhaps, in the same moment, looking at the Christmas Girl as well.


Diane said...

She is so lovely! What a sweet gift for your dad to give you and your sister.

Hilary said...

What a beautiful way to feel connected to your family.. one of many way, I'm sure. That's a lovely tradition. The glow in her face must reflect the one you feel while thinking of your family at this time.

Melanie Gillispie said...

You bring out the sentimental side of me! That's a great story, and how sweet that your parents, your sister's family and you all have one, in different parts of Europe kind of keeping you connected to each other figuratively if not literally.

Holly said...

How did I miss all of this wonderfulness AGAIN??? Aargh, my life is just getting away from me. There are not enough minutes in a day.

You seiously have some of the neatest, most unusual traditions!! I really enjoyed catching myself up on your blog. This 'Christmas Girl' post warmed my heart.

But, I truly got a kick out of your agenda post to get to the Gap for a pair of pants. Too funny!!

Michelle H. said...

An incredible family tradition for an incredible person. Such fond memories you have for the holidays.

I gave you an award. Stop by my blog tomorrow to pick it up.

Beep said...

She is adorable :)

Zuzana said...

Diane, thank you; yes, it was a lovely day and is a lovely gift.;))

Hilary, that is so true; she does have a glow that makes everything brighter. My connection with my family is one thing I am sure you of all people will understand very well.

Mel, you know how sentimental I am. Yes, that is exactly it, the connection between us that will always be there, no matter how far we are. A lit candle makes it only so much more obvious.

Holly, I so understand how busy you must be during this season in your lovely home. You know how much I always enjoy your visits and I am happy I can warm your heart.
Yes, the man-woman shopping picture is hilarious, isn’t it?

Michelle, what a wonderful compliment, you know you are one of a kind, thank you. I am going to go right over to your place to see the award, how exciting!!;))

Hello Beep and welcome, and I do agree with you; she is adorable.
Thank you for stopping by.;))

dv said...

Hi Sis!!!
I can just confirm - this is indeed a family Christmas tradition. My kids now recognize our little "Emma" - that's how we call her - and she is with us in the kitchen from the first Advent until the end of the Christmas season. They also know that it’s “deda” who bought her for us and that makes her even more special. I just love her and every time I look at her I remember very well the day our dad bought one for each of his two girls... It was a very special day that will stay in our memories for ever.

Zuzana said...

Hello little sister! I am happy to hear Emma is up in your house as well.;) I lit the candle initially on the 1st Advent, and now every evening. She is so lovely and agree with you, the day father gave her to us was truly magical.
I miss you guys, give big hugs to the kids.

Maria said...

I've never seen her before. She is lovely.

KathyB. said...

Your Brita looks so very much like my granddaughter, Briia. Our family is American, of Scandinavian descent and I am so often surprised by how very many of our common family celebrations have their root in our Scandinavian ( especially Norwegian) heritage. It does seem we can not ever really lose our heritage, even if we do not know it, it does make itself known in other ways. Love your blog. I read it often.

bright star said...

Have read your post ,if a little late and she is gorgeous! love Angela