Christmas at the Dixons in Mariposa is usually full of excitement. The big family gathers in various mixes, beginning on Christmas Eve with Sandie's family attending Church services at Ponderosa Basin Chapel. Next is the ritual of opening one gift: new pajamas and posing for pictures in front of the tree, followed by a movie--often It's a Wonderful Life..
In the morning, Sandie's kids (who are really young adults) start the next round of festivities by opening their stockings. Then Aunt Cindy passes out gifts to her parents and her sister's family. After a delicious Christmas breakfast and another Christmas movie (this year it was Fred Claus), the rest of the extended family begins arriving for more gift giving and Christmas dinner. This year snow began falling about 11am, so there was also sledding and a beautiful rainbow visible through the trees.
The Dixon's like to go, go, go, so the day after Christmas we traveled to Fresno to paint pottery which took longer than anticipated and so we didn't have time for dinner at an Italian restaurant as planned. Instead, we ate at a family eatery called Pete's and loaded our plates with fries and onion rings and hamburgers before going en mass to the movies to see Seven Pounds (we filled 2 full rows). The movie which was about a heart transplant was a bit emotional, and we lingered in the lobby afterward, tearful and hugging.
Saturday was spent trying out gifts like web cams and friers and, for me, reading the new books I received.
Sunday was Ashley's birthday, so we met at the cemetery to recall the wonders of her all too brief 18 years. Then we went to Angel Falls, one of her favorite places on earth. We slipped and slid climbing through snow to the falls and then tossed pink roses into the rushing water in her memory. A snowball fight on the way back to the cars was the perfect touch! No doubt everyone recalled her gleeful and contagious laughter as the cold snow dripped down our faces and necks.
Happy Holidays, Dixons!