***Warning*** (I get wordy about Christmas in here so don't worry about skipping down to the pictures. Just walking down memory lane and doing some online journaling.)
We had one amazing Christmas! This was the last Christmas before little brother left on his mission so we wanted it to be fabulous! We decorated like crazy and for those of you who don't know our family all too well, the Sadler part of the family are extreme decorators. It stems from Mom and Dad Sadler (especially my Dad) and we always start decorating on November 1 for Christmas. Yes, we are "those" kind of people that skip decorating for Thanksgiving but we have so much Christmas to put up that it would be impossible to start after Turkey day. My dad loved to see our old house decorated. Growing up in the home in California we had 3 Christmas trees that had to be put up on November 1, without fail. The first tree was usually "Mom's" tree and it went right in the dining room and was decorated in all gold ornatments, beads, and bells. Dad could usually put this one up on his own but I always had to help with the lights. Then mom would be busy for about another 5-6 hours decorating it (believe me, we weren't allowed in the room when mom tried to do this! We always would break stuff). This is known as the 8' tree or the gold dining room tree. The next tree was usually the "BIG" tree. It was 15' tall and stood in the front room right when you open the door. For those of you that have seen the Nutcracker and the tree in the ballroom-this is about the same thing. Getting this thing downstairs was ridiculous because it came in about 10 boxes that were heavy and awkward. You see, this tree had to be put together branch by branch. My dad was the master of making sure that the branches were all unfolded from the boxes perfectly. It would take us about 2 minutes to "unmash" the branches and get them suitable for the tree. But even then, Dad would take the one we just finished and always tweak a couple of limbs so that they were perfect. You had to start at the top and go to the bottom so it got longer not shorter in time but it is one of the greatest memories I have. This process usually took about 8 hours and then Dad would do the lights and mom decorating the tree with flowers and gold ribbon. I have to say that I have never seen a prettier tree than this one and my dad loved it too. The last and final tree was known as the "kid" and "present" tree. This tree was 12' tall and went in by the other family room. I enjoyed putting this tree up the most because the kids got to decorate it! It had the old fashioned lights that always seemed to get hot so we couldn't put anything directly next to the lights or they would get a singed mark. (many teddy bears were harmed in this process) Mom and Dad had the old fashioned dough ornaments and each kid had their favorite. I loved my Strawberry Shortcake that was missing one of her arms and I think the boys liked the 3 wise men but I can't remember. One year I was upset because my family was debating putting up all the decorations. (This was the year my dad became really ill with cancer) I was heartbroken but decided that it was my time to take over the decorating. I put up the trees with help from Mom and Jeff and I was exhausted. My dad couldn't do very much but after I had come home from being out with friends, I walked into the family room and saw that at the top of the kids tree, my dad had put a picture of me at the top surrounded in lights. Greatest memory ever, even though the next year Jeff put himself on the tree instead of me. Dad always wanted a Christmas menu too. He wanted to know what we were having and we shopped constantly until we were positive that we weren't missing anything. Couple more memories: Orange Julius, stockings, Department 56 houses, nutcrackers, musicals, Johnny Mathis, waiting at the top of the stairs, Hearts, Who is Santa this year?, fireplace, VHS recorded Christmas cartoons, furry burry, forts under the bar, large outdoor wreathes, "Stefani, this is Dad. I'll be home in 5 min. All Christmas lights must be on.", Dad's fruit cake, See's candy from Dad's Clients, the video camera that we have yet to see one Christmas on-we actually don't think it ever worked, Scrooge, Caroling with the big bell, Dad's Christmas dinner plate (you normally couldn't see anything on it and it was piled high), mom's pies, the Christmas train on the bar, fighting over the Santa place mat, mom's dishes and goblets, Costco pork loin, shopping at Walnut Creek, Dad's Nordstrom Christmas, our specific places on the couch for Santa, Dad getting the biggest turkey known to man, Martinelli's sparkling cider, the 400 nutcrackers, dinners with Aunt Julie's family, acting out the Nativity Story, Luke 2, playing the "bells", singing around the piano, The 12 Days of Christmas-mainly Dad and Uncle Mike singing 5 golden rings, and many more I will probably think of once I've already posted this. I have amazing memories and we tried this year to replicate many of them.
***Out of Memory Lane a Little***
This year Clint wanted a really nice Camera so that it what we got him. He surprised me with something I have wanted ever since I moved out for college-a piano. We were on our way to do something in Salt Lake and he took a little detour and pulled into a piano gallery parking lot and said, "Go in a pick one out." Ya, what a stud. We had Clint's family over for Christmas Eve and it was great. We had a wonderful dinner and then did a couple of my family traditions like singing around the piano, playing the "bells", The 12 Days of Christmas in parts, and reading Luke 2. Such a great night. Pat and Beth were here and we had a great Christmas the next day. Lots of pictures too.