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Making Christmas: The Tyes that bind
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Making Christmas: The Tyes that bind

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Heather and Tullis Tye blended their families three years ago, with eight children between them. As complicated as such blendings can be, Christmas and how it should look at their house was one matter on which they completely agreed: Go all out.

Both of them had fond memories of the awe in their children’s faces as they experience the colorful holiday as toddlers. Although all of their youngsters are now teens or early into adulthood, those precious memories linger, and made them want to give other children and young-hearted adults around them that “wow” experience.

Making a light sphere was one of the first things Heather tackled as Christmas rolled around that first year together as a married couple with the two of them in accord about making the holiday bright. She went to social media to get some guidance for making a sphere out of plastic punch cups. Three years later, they’re still burning bright and sturdy for the season.

And the two just completed their latest big project: two nutcracker soldiers made primarily of PVC pipes.

Tullis cut and assembled the pipes to make the figures and Heather painted them.

As for that big 13.5-ft. tree in their living room... she chose it, with warnings from the family that it wouldn’t fit. They were all wrong of course, but all members of the clan, and their significant others, pitched in to decorate when her husband and son Aidan Eubanks finally got it through the door and situated.

It’s admired all around in the Tye family. That includes Iris Tye Melvin, mom to Tullis, and Peggy Havard, mom to Heather, and many, many others.

Havard said she’s proud of her son-in-law and his dedication to the season and to helping her daughter enjoy it to its fullest.

Colin Eubanks is 21 now, the oldest of the children in the lives of the couple. He said he enjoys seeing the tradition continue in the blended family. His mother had made things special every year of his childhood, and he can’t imagine a Christmas without the lights and color and joy.

His mother and stepfather aren’t through yet. Keep an eye on their place off U.S. 90; they’ll have a patriotic red, white and blue tree up there soon, and Tullis keeps adding strands of lights to his cascade. Santa and some reindeer will be landing soon, as well.

For such a big scale of things, they got it going fairly late; it was just after Thanksgiving when they really started. That’s because Tullis insisted that “the turkey has his day” on Thanksgiving, not to be overshadowed by the stars of Christmas time.

With additions in the offing, they expect their display to be fuller as the Grand Ridge parade and ensuing Christmas celebration take place on Dec. 10.

The parade starts at 4:30 p.m. near city hall off State Road 69 and the festival immediately commences at John Thomas Porter Park, where the parade ends. That leaves plenty of time for a leisurely drive on down State Road 69 and U.S. 90 to see the Tye home and many other sites that have been decorated by the city and by residents that make it home.

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