The presents were so numerous they all but filled the tiny one-room apartment on Wilson Avenue in Glendale. In one corner was a bicycle and helmet, in another, a set of plastic building blocks. Five children danced around, arranging and rearranging the piles.
"They woke at 7 a.m. and already wanted to bathe and get ready," their mother, Aida Cardenas, said. "They are so happy."
It was a joyful moment in an otherwise difficult year for the family, which has struggled with prolonged unemployment. They had not expected to celebrate Christmas at all — it was a stretch just to purchase the single 10-inch Christmas tree that sat on a table.
But Christmas came Friday to the Cademas family, and to 15 other Glendale families, delivered by members of the Glendale Fire Department as part of its annual Christmas Families program.
For the 15th year, engine companies and administrative divisions adopted a local family, treating them to a Christmas celebration they would not otherwise be able to afford, said firefighter and program director Chris Mays.