Published 7:00 pm Friday, November 27, 2020

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“All for the love of Christmas!”

That’s why Christmas in Ansley came into being and why it went public in 2018.

Shanna Taylor has loved Christmas all her life. Her husband, Aaron, and son, Colt, 11, share that love with her. And, were it not for their shared love of each other and the Christmas season, then there would be no Christmas in Ansley and no shared love of Christmas with their home community of Ansley and the far reaches beyond.

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For several years, Shanna had been decorating the surrounding area of the hair salon she owns and operates on their homesite in Ansley.

The area was decorated with Christmas yard items she had collected over several years.

“My clients really enjoyed the Christmas displays and often brought their kids to see them,” Shanna said. “I got great joy out of seeing them enjoy the displays. People soon began riding by and they would slow down to look. Some stopped along the roadside and others would actually get out of their vehicles to get a closer look.”

Aaron has an “electrical side to him” so he enjoyed lighting the displays and bringing them to life with animation. The traffic along the highway increased almost bumper to bumper at times. So, two years ago, Shanna, Aaron and Colt decided it was time to open their Christmas display for on-site viewing.

“I don’t know how many people came that first year,” Shanna said. “It was more than we would have ever thought. They enjoyed walking around the displays and everybody had a favorite or two or three or more. Some just couldn’t pick a favorite.”

This Christmas season, the Taylor family has opened a drive-through section of Christmas at Ansley. The drive-though is just off the roadway and meanders around the family home site. There is parking area for those who would like to take a walking tour of Christmas in Ansley.

The walk starts with the Disney section and trails through scenes that include the many characters of Christmas, including nativity scenes, Santa and the elves and Rudolph and the gang. And the mean one, Mr. Grinch, of course, Charlie Brown, Snoopy and friends, Christmas mice, pups, kitties and cats, frogs and turtles and every living creature that makes the Christmas season special for kids and grownups alike.

Shanna’s favorite display is Santa Claus kneeling to worship Baby Jesus in the manger. Her husband is a “military guy” so his favorite display is of Uncle Sam and a soldier kneeling at the base of the American flag. Colt is a ‘Toy Story” fan so he likes the display that features the toy soldiers.

“But we love them all,” Shanna said. “We never get tired of visiting Christmas at Ansley.

Putting the village up, taking it down and storing the display for the next Christmas season takes a lot of hard work and many hours of time.

Many of the characters of Christmas are designed and painted by Shanna. The characters are cut out and wired by Aaron. Colt helps his mom and dad install the displays. When Christmas in Ansley ends, the three of them dismantle the displays and store them for the next season.

Many of the displays have been collected over the years from yard sales, after-Christmas sales, thrift stores and antique shops and some have been donated.

“Several of the displays are antiques,” Shanna said. “We have about 60 of those and they include glow molds which are plastic blowups. They are among my favorites because you don’t see them much anymore.”

There are individual favorites for most everyone who visits Christmas in Ansley. And, that’s the way it should be, Shanna said.

“To see the smiles on the faces of children as they run from one character to the other is worth it all,” she said. “Hopefully, those who come will leave with the joy and love of Christmas in the hearts. We, at Christmas in Ansley wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.”

Christmas in Ansley opened on Thanksgiving Day and will close on New Year’s Eve.

Hours are from 5:30 until 9:30 p.m. nightly There is no admission charge. However, donations are accepted.