Smith: No home to decorate, so Santa Rosa woman will deck a Rose Parade float

From the left, Nolan, Nick, Catherine and Stephanie Stauer. (Family photo)


The understatement of the season comes from Santa Rosa’s Stephanie Stauer.

“I like Christmas trees,” she told me.

Well, before I phoned Stephanie I’d been briefed on how she so adores decorating Christmas trees that she cheerfully, eagerly helps friends and coworkers at Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa, where she works in credentialing, to adorn theirs.

She confirmed to me that for years she placed and decorated within her family’s Santa Rosa home five Christmas trees:

A major one in the living room and smaller ones in the family room, the dining room and the bedrooms of both Catherine, who’s 17, and Nolan, 14.

This year there are no rooms. The house in Fountaingrove that Stephanie shared with the kids and her husband, Nick, the service manager at Mercedes-Benz of Santa Rosa, fell to the Tubbs fire.

But Stephanie must decorate. Aware that Kaiser Permanente enters a float in Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses, she asked if she might help bedeck this year’s entry. Kaiser’s float team told her, come on down.

So just after Christmas, Stephanie will trek to the Southland. Catherine will, too.

The rest of us will have the parade on the TV on Jan. 1 and will await the K-P float.


SO YOU MISSED the holiday open house at Luther Burbank Home & Gardens, and now you lie awake night after night, wondering what surprises and delights you missed in the gift shop.

The volunteers who maintain the landmark at Sonoma and Santa Rosa avenues would like you to know that they’ll open the shop for you between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. this Monday through Friday. All you need to do is give a call to 524-5445.

The Friends of Luther Burbank also wish you a good, long winter’s nap.


KIDS WHO FLED the firestorms still can register for the two-day Santa’s Workshop that continues today at the downtown Santa Rosa branch of Umpqua Bank.

Free tickets are available online at

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. there will be photos with Santa, cookie decorating and a chance to write letters to first responders and/or the Clauses.


MENTIONING UMPQUA gets me to thinking also about Rabobank, and Comerica. And I wonder if you might remember:

When was it they ran out of good names for banks?


50 SEEMED PLENTY. So that’s how many laser-cut wooden Fountaingrove Round Barn Christmas ornaments Debbie McCormick ordered for her Santa Rosa gift shop.

When I checked with her Wednesday, she figured she’s now sold about 5,000 — to folks who stroll into Sunnyside Cottage in Rincon Valley or who order one or more from afar.

Debbie said she has plenty more, and also earrings and magnets bearing images of the Round Barn as it was before the flames of early October devoured it. She’s donating a healthy portion of the sales proceeds to fire recovery.

Remind me to tell you about how Debbie and I were at the same high school in Riverside in the early ‘70s and how she wore a homecoming queen’s tiara when I escorted her into a football game while wishing I had a serious pair of platform shoes.

You can reach Staff Writer Chris Smith at 707-521-5211 or