P A C I F I C   L U T H E R A N   U N I V E R S I T Y F A L L   2 0 0 1 

[Pacific Lutheran Scene]


Building a holiday tradition: Yule Boutique turns 30

By Katherine Hedland ’88

CONTINUING TRADITION: Longtime organizers of the annual Yule Boutique, Alice Govig, (LEFT) and Gloria Pederson ’42, pose in their authentic Scandinavian outfits.
Thirty years ago, they were the wives of faculty members selling goodies on card tables in the University Center. Today they make up the PLU Women’s Club and run a professional, successful Yule Boutique that has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars for scholarships for PLU students.

“We started out with a table in the CK,” said Ann Miller ’86, recently retired associate director of the Health Center and a former president of the organization.

But after Gloria Pederson ’42 saw a flea market at the University of Puget Sound, she decided PLU should step up its efforts.

“I just wanted to do something better than UPS,” Pederson said with a laugh.

They did—and kept on doing it. The 30 th annual Yule Boutique will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, in Olson Auditorium. A $3 donation is suggested, but PLU students are admitted free.

The first official Yule Boutique was held in 1971 in Memorial Gym with booths from 22 organizations and homemade lefse and other Scandinavian treats for sale. Now, more than 100 carefully selected vendors sell their handcrafted items at Olson. People fondly recall the early Yule Boutiques, the personal feel and homemade food. Tighter health regulations and increasing attendance forced some changes over the years, like having Dining Services prepare the refreshments rather than having volunteers bring them in from huge at-home baking parties.

With change came even greater success. As the boutique raised more money, Miller proposed establishing an endowment to make sure the scholarships were always available. Since then, the endowment for student scholarships has grown to a market value of $280,000.

“I think it’s something we can build up and keep going forever,” said Lynette Cubbage, who is in charge of contracting with vendors for the annual sale.

The founders of the group have changed with the times, adopting a more modern name and reaching out to other women in the PLU community.

“In the ‘old days,’ it was sort of expected that you join if your husband was a faculty member,” said current President Alice Govig.

Every year, the members of the club would vote on whether to have another boutique the next year. Eventually they voted to continue the boutique unless anyone brought up the vote again.

That’s a relief to those shoppers who make the Yule Boutique a regular pre-holiday stop. This year, there will be new vendors, along with old favorites. Bronn Journey will play the harp, and other musicians will perform. While there is still a Scandinavian slant to the boutique—noted by the authentic costumes some organizers wear—the boutique offers all kinds of specialty items, from stained glass and woodwork, to Christmas ornaments and homemade soap.

“There are several groups who meet up at the Yule Boutique,” said Anita Christian ’59, the long-time chairwoman of the boutique. “It’s a tradition.”

There’s a strong contingent of supporters that make the Yule Boutique a success.

“I think we’ve all held every office,” said Helen Nordquist ’57, another longtime organizer who works for PLU Development.

“After you do it as long as we have, you just know things will fall into place,” Cubbage said. “Each person does their own thing and it works.”

Pacific Lutheran University Scene
Credits | © 2001 | Comments