A forest of trees for the Taylors at holidays - Christmas 2018
BY DENNY SCOTT
For the Taylor family from Londesborough, Christmas is a time for family, food and decorations.
Shane, a teacher at Central Huron Secondary School, his wife Tina, a teacher at Hullett Central Public School and their children Cal and Ruby put a lot of effort i to the holiday season, decorating multiple trees in their home and celebrating Christmas both in and outside the family.
While Shane is the first to say that Tina is the decorator of the family, there are no idle hands when it comes to getting the house feeling like a Christmas wonderland.
“I start early,” Tina said. “There are lots of trees for us to decorate.”
Tina explained that there are two family trees, one on the main level of their home and one in the basement. The tree in the basement, dubbed the “Santa Tree” is for gifts, while the one upstairs showcases some of the family’s best ornaments.
Both Cal and Ruby have their own trees as well, each in their respective bedrooms.
“The kids decorate their own,” Shane said. “The family trees are a family project.”
All the decorations are family-oriented, Shane explained, and everyone takes turns decorating, right down to the angel on top of the living room tree.
“Every year, the children take turns with that,” Tina said. “We always have to go back to the video and photos from the last year to figure out whose turn it is this year.”
The “Santa Tree” is also home to some of the more unique decorations, Ruby said.
“We put the ugly ones at the back of the tree,” she said, with her mother saying that all the ornaments have good memories, but those with the most cherished memories find a home on the front of the “Santa Tree”.
The family pet Charlie even gets in on the action, whether he’s supposed to or not.
“Charlie is our cat and he’s a Bengal,” Ruby said.
Cal explained that Bengals are a “weird breed” in that they like water and can jump very high. Tina reinforced that, saying that Charlie is more like a guard dog than a cat.
“Charlie likes to sit in the tree,” Ruby said. “He even fell asleep in the tree this year.”
Charlie has had to be removed from the family tree a time or three, Shane said, after climbing too high to get down on his own.
Tina had just finished decorating when she and her family sat down to talk with The Citizen in early December. The last task she tackles, to officially put an end to decorating, is putting up trees in her classroom at school.
After that, it’s a few short weeks to Christmas Eve, which Cal and Ruby count down with Advent calendars every year.
The weeks before Christmas are also accompanied by Taylor, the family’s Elf on the Shelf. He had made his first appearance just prior to the Taylor family chat with The Citizen.
“He was playing Uno with the Grinch and he slept on the T.V.,” Ruby said.
While Cal and Ruby are keeping their eye out for Taylor the Elf and counting down the days until Christmas, Tina and Shane are knee-deep in tinsel and holly at work.
“We’re getting ready for the Christmas concert,” Tina said. “There are props to find, decorating to do and the school also collects for the food bank.”
She said that she’s currently e-mailing families about what’s needed for the concert, including how to dress and what to bring.
Shane said that, right now, the administration office and guidance offices at Central Huron Secondary School are in the middle of a decorating contest to see who can display the most Christmas spirit. He said it was almost getting out of hand.
“You have to put sunglasses on to go into the office,” he said jokingly. “I think there might be inflatables showing up next.”
Shane and the rest of the staff at Central Huron Secondary School are also going to be serving breakfast to students on the last day of class, Dec. 21, to mark the occasion.
Shane is also a member of the Londesborough Lions club, which sells and delivers Christmas trees every year.
Come Christmas Eve, the family makes Christmas cookies together that they decorate and leave out for Santa Claus. They also put out lettuce and carrots for Santa’s reindeer.
The family also makes a point to watch Shane’s handiwork as he videotapes everything at Christmas.
“We watch the old videos on Christmas Eve,” Cal said, with Ruby saying they sometime watch the most recent video, from just a year earlier.
The children also check in with Santa Claus, using an online service where Santa sends a video looking over their year to determine whether they were naughty or nice. While Cal and Ruby were quick to say they’re always in the nice category, the family cat Charlie has been on the fence once.
On Christmas Day, the children know they have to wait for their father to get up before they’re allowed in to the basement.
After that, they set to opening their gifts while father Shane records every reaction.
The family takes a break from the gifts and has a special breakfast downstairs including some favourite dishes like hash browns, French toast and sausage.
The family then relaxes together for the day before having a turkey dinner at home.
Christmas is also celebrated with both Tina’s and Shane’s parents, with both living nearby. The family then enjoys leftovers for most of January, according to Tina.