Shelved Dolls: La Befana – The Female Santa Claus

Instead of leaving children coal, she leaves them blackened candy made out of caramel and . . . I genuinely don’t know, brownies? It can be any dark brown substance, so I guess it could also be dark chocolate.

It’s supposed to represent coal.


This is a lump of coal

I think it’s brownies.

These are delicious brownies, which are similar, but, admittedly, less shiny

These are delicious brownies, which are similar, but, admittedly, less shiny

Everyone receives candy, because it’s okay for all children to be bad some of the time.

This is pretty much the best, and probably the healthiest, message you could give children. Namely, that it’s okay not to be perfect.

Also, sometimes La Befana does not want to put her presents in the stocking! Sometimes she takes shoes or socks and hides them and the presents around the house.

Why? Because La Befana has the freedom to be the kind of woman she wants to be, and that kind of woman is part Easter Bunny. Alternatively, because she is brave.

la befana


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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!