Leprechauns and Easter bunnies are decorating many homes this time of year, but for one Salt Lake County family, it's still Christmas - complete with Santa, turkey and tree.
It was 1964 the last time Ernie and Arda Klossner sat down at the dinner table together with their three children. School, jobs, marriage, missions, the military and bad timing have kept them from all being together at the same time.But when Renon Hulet found out her brother and sister-in-law, Hans and Sophie Klossner, were coming to Salt Lake City from Germany, she was immediately on the phone planning the long overdue reunion that became a reality Wednesday.
"Knowing they were coming, I knew we needed Christmas, so I left the Christmas tree and decorations up to celebrate the occasion," she said. "It's been since 1964 that we've all had Christmas together."
"It's like someone dropped a bomb in the family and we blew to different parts of the world," said Renon's brother, John Klossner. "This is a real significant event."
The Hulet's Christmas lights, decorations and holiday tree have remained in place since December awaiting their second yuletide celebration. At least half of the tree's needles didn't survive the weeks, however.
"I've gotten a lot of people making fun of me because everything's still up," she said.
Santa even helped the family celebrate the Christmas spirit and paid a visit to the family reunion - but he didn't quite look like his old self. He had the beard, he had the sleigh bells, he had that jolly laugh - but his famous red suit and cap must have still been at the cleaners.> Dressed in shorts, a Hawaiian shirt and a tan, Santa said, "I just got in from Hawaii resting up from a hard winter. While I was there I got this call from some crazy lady saying I had to come."> Arda Klossner said she and her husband have been waiting a long time for Wednesday's reunion. "We think this is just great," she said.
"I couldn't figure out why she (Renon) kept the tree up for so long. I'm not a romantic," John Klossner explained. "But if I had ever thought she had the opportunity to do this and didn't, I wouldn't have ever forgiven her. I'm sure glad she did."