On Sunday, for the 18th consecutive year, the Ceramic Castle in Glendale hosted a Christmas celebration and gift exchange for patrons and friends.
Fifty eight people were invited to the dinner, held in the work room where ceramic classes at the shop normally take place. To make room for the elegantly decorated dining tables, a Christmas tree and gifts, owners Ellen and Bill Francis stored several work tables in the back room.
“We’ve had as many as 80 people,” said Ellen Francis. “We used to have it at my house, but we ran out of room.”
With the help of family, Francis removed the clay work tables Saturday night and strung white lights around the room.
She also crafted handmade nativity scenes for table centerpieces and with help from others, she made close to 60 clay dishes decorated with angels, golden bow ties and ornaments for each guest to take home. Inside the dishes were bundles of bite-sized candies.
“We’re always surprised,” said Ceramic Castle patron Edwina Hughes of the dishes and centerpieces.
“Every year we have something different. We come here and nobody knows what it’s going to be. No one sees them. They make sure they only take them out when no one’s here.”
The guests enjoyed homemade dishes many of them brought for dinner and finished the evening with a white-elephant gift exchange.