I hope you had yourself a scary little Christmas, holiday, solistice or whatever early winter rite
you may or may not celebrate. In seasons past, I have written about the scary ghost stories and things that go bump in the night around Christmas. Be it the four ghosts of Charles Dickens' carol, or the punishing Krampus, the Ghost here remains fascinated by the nightmares of Christmas.
More formally, the story of Befana has tried to explain her as an heir to a heathen goddess, or at the least begetting her name from such an earth goddess. Befana is commonly described as a devoted housekeeper, who in the most often told story meets the three Magi on their way to visit the Christ child in Bethlehem, and, after they offer to have Befana join them on their quest, are turned down by her, for she has too much to do. Too many floors to be swept and kept clean, too much to do, to go on such a journey. Befana, on their leaving, regrets her decision, and has since spent the ages looking for the Christ child; finding other children on Christmas, and bearing them gifts, when she realizes she has not found the child she is searching for, yet.
To further celebrate my Befana Christmas, I attempted cut-out cookies of the old woman, with the help of one of my witch cookie cutters-- to questionable success.