DAZZLING LIGHTS: ‘Christmas in Ansley’ brings joy to the season

Published 5:20 pm Friday, December 27, 2019

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Christmas season may be over for some people and in some places but not in Ansley, Alabama and not for Shanna and Aaron Taylor and their son, Colt.

Around their home – literally ‘around’ their home’ –  Christmas will remain until after the ringing-in of the New Year.

The Taylor home on the Shellhorn Road, about 10 miles from Troy, is a must-see for all who have Christmas in their hearts.

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The Taylors have transformed more than an acre around their home into a wonderland that is all-aglow with the characters of Christmas and spotlights the real reason for the season, the birth of the Christ Child.

The Taylors have been openly and outwardly celebrating the holiday season with “Christmas in Ansley” for about four years.

The idea for “Christmas in Ansley’ originated with Shanna, who loves children and loves to decorate.

“I’m a hair dresser and a lot of my customers have children that come along with them for appointments,” Shanna said. “I started putting up outdoor decorations and the kids loved them. The more they enjoyed them, the more excited I became about the display and the more characters I added.”

The Taylors titled their ever-growing display “Christmas in Ansley” and anchored the display with much-preferred “old-fashioned” displays.

“Our grandparents had ‘antique’ display figures of hard blown plastic,” Shanna said. “That’s the  kind of hard plastic that was used years ago for outdoor Christmas displays. Aaron, Colt and I like the old-timey displays. They are our favorites so they are the focus of ‘Christmas in Ansley.’”

The outdoor Christmas display depicts the characters of Christmas in a much-preferred “old-fashioned” way. However, the kind of displays the Taylors want for the focus of “Christmas in Ansley” are not often found in stores.

Aaron Taylor travels so he is always alert to outdoor Christmas figures to add to and enhance “Christmas in Ansley.” So, some of the Christmas characters have been relocated from adjoining states.

“Aaron is always looking for either blown plastic Christmas decorations or those that are handmade from wood or some other materials,” Shanna said. “I’m always looking, too, and year around, especially at yard sales. You never know what you might find.”

Shanna said she also shops after-Christmas sales at the box stores, just on the chance they might have a Christmas character that would be at home in Ansley.

Although the Taylors prefer the vintage items and traditional characters, they are not limited to something old, nor do they shy away from the less traditional characters of Christmas.

“Christmas in Ansley” features both Santa Claus and The Grinch, something old, something new.

So, the Taylors, with input from Colt, who has first-hand knowledge of what kids really have added characters of all kinds to their outdoor wonderland. Colt’s favorite display is the Singing Frogs.

“Christmas in Ansley” includes Santa, and Mrs. Claus, the elves, Rudolph and the reindeer, snowmen and snowwomen, penguins, pups and a variety of woodland critters. Charlie Brown, Lucy and Snoopy are among the favorites along with the church mice, singing frogs and the Grinch gang.

The Taylors’ hope is that “Christmas in Ansley” brings the joy of Christmas to others and that it also brings added awarenss that the Christ Child is the real reason for the season.