Shelved Dolls: La Befana – The Female Santa Claus

Oh my gosh you guys, it is almost Christmas! In nearly every part of the world Santa Claus – or St. Nick or Father Christmas or some other jolly man - brings presents. Then there are some parts of the world (called the Netherlands) where he is some sort of cruel slave driver, and that is why we have trend pieces and Django Unchained. Maybe? On Christmas Day I’m probably going to see Les Mis.

Black pete

Another year, another Black Pete trend piece.

However, in some parts of Italy, most notably Marche, Umbria and Lazio, there is a female version of Santa Claus named La Befana. Do you know why she is better than Santa Claus?

Oh, I am here to tell you!

Okay, what do you leave for Santa Claus? Milk and cookies.

What do you leave for La Befana? Wine and “the regional specialty.”

So while Santa Claus is gumming 2% milk and Oreos with his old man teeth, La Befana is savoring a nice Pinot Noir and some tartufo.

I know which one I’d like to be.

Also, there is no part of the world – none – where La Befana is known to employ slaves. She doesn’t even have reindeer. She’s just a fast walker. Because the wine is heart healthy.

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    • Amy

      “I like to believe TheGloss has a certain precocious baby readership.”

      HA! Another great shelved doll article. Love your work! I adored the one about badass Julie d’Aubigny and her shenannigans. Are there any famous lady pirates you could write about?

      • Matthew McVeagh

        There was a female leader of Chinese pirates who was very powerful. Not well-known in the west but maybe Jennifer could write about her.

    • Samantha

      I teared up when I read the ending of this story. Shelved Dolls is always awesome, but this one feels particularly timely and lovely.

    • Katie

      Can we make this into an awesome holiday on like January 5 or 6? Where we clean our houses and than at night drink wine, and eat regional specialties and brownies in honor of La Befana? I think this is going to become a thing at my house. La Befana Day!