Christmas on Home Improvement

Recently, I’ve gotten back into watching some of the shows I loved growing up.  “Home Improvement” was one of those shows my entire family enjoyed, and we made it a weekly staple to gather around the TV together to watch the latest episode.  It has been a real treat for me to go back and watch and review each season for this “Holidays on Home Improvement” series.

The show, and the fictional Taylor family, took the winter holiday season seriously.  Christmas was clearly the most significant holiday event for the Taylor family each year.  As we found out reviewing the Halloween episodes, which you can find by clicking HERE, not every season of “Home Improvement” contained a dedicated episode to the spooky holiday.  The same goes for Thanksgiving, which you can also find by clicking HERE.  Christmas, however, is served up every year with heartfelt storylines, laughter, and more.  Growing up in my house was similar to the show in that regard.

Halloween wasn’t that big of an event for us.  We’d wear costumes and trick-or-treat, but that was about it.  For Thanksgiving, we’d have some extended family or our elderly neighbors over for the afternoon but everyone would be on their way home by 7 or 8 o’clock.

Christmas, however, was a different story.  We had lots of family stay for several days in our house and my Grandparents’ next door.  Everyone pitched in to decorate the houses the day after Thanksgiving, my Grandmother would spend weeks baking batch after batch of Christmas cookies, and my parents would have an annual argument over putting up a real or fake tree.  On Christmas Eve, we’d attend a candlelight service, drive around looking for the best Christmas lights, and then open up one present before bed.  Christmas day was a full-day affair with several rounds of presents, meals, and much more that seemed to roll into New Year’s Eve a week later.

Thank you for indulging me these past few months as I review one of my favorite television series from my childhood.  It has been a lot of fun and has brought back so many great memories.  I can still remember watching most of these episodes live for the first time, and that’s what The Retro Network is all about.

So without further ado, let’s look at how Tim Taylor and his family spent 8 seasons with elves, gifts, family, and even roof-top decorations that affect air traffic on “Christmas on Home Improvement!”

Season One:  “Yule Better Watch Out” (December 17, 1991)

The first Christmas episode for the series begins like most episodes of “Home Improvement,” with Tim’s cable tool show, Tool Time.  This episode of Tool Time is assisted by none other than Pamela Anderson, who played Lisa, the original “Tool Girl,” from the series’ start in 1990 to ’92 when she left for a job on a little show you may know called “Baywatch.”

Back at home, Tim enters the house with the last of 24 boxes full of Christmas decorations.  He’s in heated contention with their neighbor Doc Johnson, a 76-year-old retired proctologist, for the annual Christmas decoration contest.  This year, Doc added 4 giant candles and a dancing elf to his roof, so Tim is eager to out-do him, but Jill warns him to be careful, so she doesn’t have to drive him to the emergency room… again.  Meanwhile, the youngest boy Mark is told by his older brothers, Brad and Randy, that Santa doesn’t exist.

Tim is up on the roof, finishing off his decorations while the boys watch from the window.  Tim turns on a Santa Claus that spins in a circle and takes a step back to enjoy the fruit of his labor.  He slips on the icy roof and falls face-first into his toolbox.  When he stands up, the spinning Santa malfunctions, and he’s beaten by it.

Later, Mark tells his parents that his brothers told him Santa wasn’t real.  They try to explain how the mall Santa’s are just helpers, and his spirits are lifted when he figures that Santa must be real because his parents would never lie to him.  Tim heads out to the backyard, where he sees Wilson and mentions what his oldest sons had told Mark.  To make matters worse, he can’t find Mark’s most desired gift (a robot dinosaur) anywhere.  This is clearly before the days of Amazon and 2-day delivery!

Mark starts doubting Santa’s existence again, but a knock at the door interrupts them.  Tim opens it, and Wilson, dressed as Santa Claus, is on the other side!  He says he sensed Mark needed a little extra Christmas cheer and brought him a present… a robotic dinosaur!

Jill thanks Wilson for making Mark’s Christmas, and Tim walks him out.  When Tim returns, they comment on what a good friend and neighbor Wilson is to do that for their son.  Jill looks out into the backyard and is shocked!  She sees Wilson standing behind the fence in plain clothes, waving hello.  Who was it that just walked out the front door then?  It’s a Christmas miracle!

Season Two:  “I’m Scheming of a White Christmas” (December 16, 1992)

Tim barges in and says it’s time for the lighting of his annual Christmas light EXTRAVAGANZA!  Jill is worried about competition with Doc Johnson again, but Tim says not to worry because he’s going low-key this year after last year’s defeat.  He brings Jill and Mark outside to show off his decorations and hands them sunglasses, warning them to “avoid looking directly into the snowman.” 

The older boys have been out collecting money for charity, and when they come home, they warn Tim the whole neighborhood is angry and has gathered outside.  Jill tries to make dinner, and the electrical drain from Tim’s Christmas lights cause the kitchen appliances to short out.  Tim temporarily unplugs his display to allow her to cook dinner, which keeps the neighborhood happy.

Upstairs, the boys count their money from the donations and begin to scheme how they would use the money had they made it themselves.  Randy decides to “take a little out for business expenses” and keeps half of the money for himself.  A few days later, Jill compliments the older boys for working so hard for charity after noticing they are going out collecting for the 3rd day in a row.  The boys mention they only collected $5 this morning, so they need to go back out for more.

After they leave, she notices they have new video games and several new comic books in their room.  Tim finds a very expensive watch in Brad’s backpack, which causes Jill to question how they could afford these things.  Tim, the optimist, figures they’ve been saving up their allowance to buy him the expensive watch for Christmas.

That evening, Wilson drops off gifts for the Taylor family.  He apologizes to Jill for only giving the boys $10 this morning since he was low on cash.  She questions if he meant $5, and he said no, it was $10.  Jill puts two-and-two together and realizes they are stealing from the charity drive.  Tim and Jill search the boy’s room again and find a slew of expensive items, and when Brad and Randy return, they confront them.  The boys admit to taking the money, so as part of their punishment, Jill makes them donate all of the items they bought with stolen money to the charity and apologize to the needy children for being thieves.

On Tool Time, the musical group Manhattan Transfer makes a guest appearance singing “Santa Claus is coming to town.”  Al gets stuck in the chimney, and Tim’s solution is to use a chain saw.

Back at home, the boys return from donating their stolen items and discuss the dirty looks all of the sad children gave them and how awful they felt.  Looking around their room, they realize how fortunate they are to have so much stuff and come to realize that they have a lot of toys and other things they no longer use.  The two decide to donate their own belongings to the shelter, making Jill and Tim very proud.  

Season Three:  “Twas the Blight Before Christmas” (December 15, 1993)

Tim, Al, and Heidi are on Tool Time advertising Binford’s line of stocking stuffers.  They showcase everything from a pocket-sized blow torch, digital torque wrenches, and fiberoptic flashlights.

As a side note, an identical version of the Santa and sleigh over Tim’s shoulder in this scene (and the above photo) sits on my lawn every Christmas.  Given to me by my Father, who purchased it in the mid-to-late 80s, it makes me happy to see it on display in this episode.  Dad sometimes would put it on the garage roof, so it looked like Santa and the reindeer were flying, but I’m not that adventurous.

Brad comes home from school and says he was invited by friends to go skiing at Boyd Mountain over Christmas.  Jill says no immediately and privately tells Tim she is distraught because the family should always be together on Christmas.

Tim is worried he’ll lose again this year to Doc Johnson.  Jill points out that since he’s lost 9 years in a row, why stop now?  It seems like old Doc is putting up every decoration Tim has just minutes ahead of Tim, which leads to Tim thinking that Doc Johnson is eavesdropping.  Even Wilson points out how Tim’s rival is one step ahead of him, perhaps due to something like having ESP.  Tim doesn’t see what a cable sports channel has to do with Christmas and instead thinks Doc has bugged the house.

Days later, Randy sheepishly admits to Tim that he’s Doc Johnson’s source.  Randy’s new girlfriend Lauren has been pumping him for information to pass along to her grandfather, who happens to be Doc Johnson.  Tim is upset with his son and scolds him with the great line, “there is no secret more important than a family’s lighting strategy.

Later that night, Brad is still upset about not being allowed to go skiing and refuses to go to Church with the family.  Jill is very upset, and Tim sneaks out of Church, but at home, he finds Brad getting ready to hitchhike his way skiing.  Tim utters another great line:  “Christmas isn’t about being with people you like!  It’s about being with family!”

Brad asks what the big deal about missing just one Christmas is, leading Tim to remind him that people aren’t around forever and soon Brad will be 18 and off to college… or in his case a halfway decent trade school.  Not everyone gets to see their family often; for example, Tim’s family lives in Colorado and Jill’s lives in Texas. The two eventually return to Church, and Brad makes Jill cry with happiness. 

Back home, Tim’s Christmas display is stunningly beautiful.  One light isn’t working properly, so he climbs up onto the roof to inspect it.  Playing with the lights, one lightbulb socket has gotten wet, and Tim is momentarily electrified.  This is enough to finally win him the contest for having such a unique item… a full-sized “lighted Tool Man.”

Season Four:  “Twas the Night Before Chaos” (December 13, 1994)

After coming home from Tool Time, Tim finds Jill baking cookies while he readies himself for another lighting contest against the evil Doc Johnson.  Jill begs for subtlety, but Tim drags out a 7-foot tall candy cane from the garage.  Ducking under the candy cane, Mark and Randy come running through the kitchen like their pants were on fire.  Mark beats Randy to the bathroom, and Randy complains to his Mom that Aunt Nancy is using the upstairs bathroom to bathe the twins while Uncle Marty is in the Master Bathroom, along with the 5 magazines he took with him… so it’s going to be a while.

Tim comes from the garage again, this time with a 7-foot tall candle, missing the subtlety Jill asked for by a hair.  Jill is excited to have babies in the house again for the holidays, saying it will finally be the perfect Christmas with family from both sides in the house together.  Tim agrees it’ll be perfect, saying this is the year he will beat Doc Johnson but reminds her that so much family togetherness will probably not make a “perfect” Christmas.

Jills parents arrive, already bickering about the drive up from Texas.  Her father, referred to as “The Colonel,” starts badgering Tim and giving the children orders.  Marty and Nancy come in with the baby girls, Claire and Gracie, and the house gets loud pretty quickly, so the three Taylor boys quickly sneak out the backdoor.

Jill and her mother, Lillian, start baking cookies, but not much work gets done when Lillian keeps complaining about The Colonel’s attitude since his retirement.  She says they are growing apart because she would like to travel, but all he does is sit on the sofa and watch the same old war movie over and over again.

Just then, Tim rolls through a lifesized camel, and Jill tries to rope him into her parent’s situation.  Tim begs off, saying he has to go “light a camel.”  Worth a chuckle, but I don’t know how many people born after this show aired would get the cigarette reference. 

Jill eventually confronts her father while he is once again watching Patton, but as predicted, it doesn’t go well, and now The Colonel is mad at Lillian AND Jill.  Tim winds up falling off the roof while Jill is seeking counsel from Wilson, but don’t worry, he’s used to it by now!

After dinner, Tim asks The Colonel to pause his movie and help him on the roof with the Christmas lights.  Jill’s Dad says has no interest in Tim’s battle with a retired proctologist.  Tim admits that, yes, he’ll probably lose again because “you know how tough old Navy guys can be.”  As he had hoped, the old Army Colonel leaps off the couch, eager to battle someone from the Navy.   While working on the roof, he mentions to Tim how he’s happy to be back in action once again and The Tool Man responds that he needs to get back into action with his unhappy wife or lose her forever.  The Colonel admits that he’s been bored since retirement, but Patton was the greatest military man of all time, and watching the movie honors his memory.  Tim thinks for a second and then asks, “How many times in that movie do you see Patton sitting in his den with a TV remote in his hand?”

Back inside, Lillian is up making tea, and Colonel asks what she’s doing up at 6am.  Maybe it’s just me, but 6am seems like a normal time to be awake.  A better question is, why was he just coming in from being on the roof all night at 6am?  The Colonel has a new pep in his step and excitedly informs his wife that “they are going to destroy that Navy butt doctor.”  He then says he has been doing some thinking that he’d like to take her traveling around the world, perhaps Italy like she’s always wanted.  Lillian is overjoyed, and they hug, but Tim interrupts them when he once again falls off the roof, this time suspended mid-air while tangled in Christmas lights!

Season Five:  “Twas the Flight Before Christmas” (December 12, 1995)

On Tool Time, we start with a timely joke for 2020 when Tim introduces Al as “Al Be Quarantining for Christmas” Borland.  The next morning, Tim has the boys up on the roof, helping him in this year’s lighting contest.  Mark is excited to help, but Randy points out that since Tim is headed out of town, he has no choice in letting them.

Jill is upset Tim has to go away on Christmas Eve.  Tim reminds her that Binford has a major sponsorship at Winterfest in Kinross, and he and Al have a critical role… the grand marshals of an elf parade.  Al and Eileen arrive while Tim and Jill are arguing, and Eileen says she has brought all of the ingredients to make her famous Pfeffernusse (pronounced Feff-er-noose) cookies.  Al says, “wait till you get your hands on her Pfeffernusse,” and Tim quips, “Sorry, I’d love to, but I’m a married one pfeffernusse kind of guy.”  A funny little throwaway line, but I’ll save you the Google:  Pfeffernusse is a traditional German cookie made of molasses and anise and covered with powdered sugar.  Sounds good to me!

Al’s pager goes off, and Eileen gets upset that it’s Al’s mother calling for the fourth time that morning.  Al gets off the phone and informs Eileen that he just invited his mother to be the third wheel on his and Eileen’s romantic New Years’ Eve, which starts a big fight.

On the plane ride to Kinross, Tim is stuck listening to Al talk about his mother.   Al mentions how ungrateful Eileen is after making her a necklace of old coins she collected in Stockholm at a Gingivitis convention.  Tim scoffs at Al’s “spare change from a bloody gum convention” and mentions the real reason he agreed to fly up to Kinross’ Elf parade on Christmas eve was that his gift for Jill was up there.  He’s purchased the first edition of Freud’s essays on the human mind for Jill to enjoy now that she’s studying for her psychology degree.  Kinross has one of the best specialty book stores, and it wouldn’t have arrived in time for Christmas, so he’s picking it up while he’s there.  Just as he finishes saying that, the pilot announces that Kinross is closed for snow and the plane is diverting to Alpena.

Tim and Al enter the Alpena terminal and meet the airport’s gate agent, baggage handler, and rental car clerk played by the veteran comedic great Tom Poston.  If you’ll remember from my “Thanksgiving on Home Improvement” article, Tom Poston appeared as the tour guide at the Silverdome in Season 7, where he even referenced his older brother, who works at an airport in Alpena.

Tim asks to rent a car since the flights are delayed.  He offers them a convertible, and when Tim points out it’s snowing and 4 degrees outside, the clerk dryly suggests leaving the top-up.  Al asks for a map but is told the map won’t do him any good because all of the roads are closed.  Frustrated, Tim asks why they are renting a car, and the clerk smiles and says flatly, “I was wondering the same thing.”

Tim calls home and says that he’s going to miss the parade and that he will return to Detroit as soon as he can.  He’s never missed a Christmas Eve, and he won’t miss one this year.  Jill worries the boys will be upset, but when she tells them their Father is stuck in Alpena, they respond, “Alright!  Cool!” and walk away sharing a high-five.  Maybe it’s me, but as a kid, I had this fear of myself or family being left behind, stranded, or going missing (Thanks, Mom) that I would get so upset to the point of throwing up.  Definitely not high five material if I were them at that age.

Al and Eileen get into another fight over the phone about his mother while the clerk tells Tim and Al that the weather has cleared in Kinross.  He again lets them get excited before breaking the news that Alpena’s weather has only gotten worse, so planes can’t take off.  Al suggests booking a hotel, which the clerk smiles and says there are several nice hotels nearby.  Tim requests a room but the clerk once again sarcastically shoots them down, claiming they were all booked hours ago.

Back at home, the boys are lifting a circus clown to the roof after a “Wiseman accident.”  Jill sends the boys in for Pfeffernusse and seeks Wilson’s advice again.  After hearing Tim’s plight, Wilson mentions he has a very good friend who works at an airport in Alpena.  Cute.  Jill asks if Wilson is excited to have his girlfriend, Judith, for Christmas.  Wilson says he’s looking forward to their first Christmas together and he made her a sweater.  Jill is amazed he knitted a sweater for his sweetheart, and Wilson said he also sheared the sheep and spun the wool.  He’s also cooking her a Christmas dinner… lamb chops.

Back in Alpena, the weather has cleared, and they finally get on a plane home.  In-flight, Al asks Tim, “How do I choose between the most important woman in the world to me… and my girlfriend?”

The pilots interrupt Tim and Al with an announcement that the weather in Detroit is bad, and unless the visibility improves in the next few minutes, they’ll be heading for Toledo.  Tim groans that he’s going to miss his boys lighting the annual Christmas display but just then, the entire plane lights up from bright spotlights down below.  The Captain announces that a tremendous beam of light has broken through the fog, and they’ll be able to land in Detroit after all!

Tim realizes it was his house that saved the day, and he arrives home just in time for Christmas!  In the closing segment, the Taylor kids are all excited that they won the Christmas light contest… and helped so many planes land! 

Season Six:  “No Place Like Home” (December 17, 1996) 

We kick off this episode on Tool Time again, this time live from the Taylor house.  Standing in front of a gorgeously decorated Christmas tree, Al and Tim are here to demonstrate the proper cleaning of a chimney so that Santa can slide down it easily.  In the middle of the demonstration, Tim’s mother calls and interrupts the live television show asking when he will arrive at her house to help her move.

Later on, Wilson has carved three Wisemen out of radishes as part of the Mexican custom of Noche de los Rabanos, or Night of the Radishes.  Tim says he’s going bright and early to help his Mom move out of her house, and his brothers Marty and Jeff will be arriving.  I believe this is the first time we’ve seen brother Jeff, as Marty has been on the show numerous times.  Wilson warns him that moving his family out of his childhood home can be a very emotional day.

Tim is excited to drive a giant moving truck and tries his hand on the CB radio using trucker lingo.  He says that since he reads Big Rig Digest every time he gets a haircut, he should have no problems.  Tim guesses right on the first radio call about “Road Pizza in the Granny” being a dead animal in the slow lane.  Tim quickly gets overconfident when he asks for “some motion lotion and a pickle park.”  He explains to a confused Jill that he just asked about a gas station and a restaurant.  A trucker responds with, “there’s a gas station just ahead.. but I’ll have to get back to you about the hookers.”  An embarrassed Tim looks straight ahead as Jill cracks up.

Tim begins to grow nervous at the number of things his mother is throwing away.  Jeff, Marty, and Tim find their father’s blueprints used to build the house and begin to reminisce.  Tim points out the tongue and groove floorboards, the fireplace, and the ornate wooden handrail on the stairs.  
Later that day, the new owners stop by to take measurements.  They casually mention they will rip out the floor and staircase and the “old fashioned stuff” like the fireplace in favor of a modern look of glass mirrors and wrought iron.  Tim is devastated and asks them to leave.  I thought one of the new owners looked familiar, so I looked her up.  The wife is played by Leslie Bibb, who, among many other credits, is most recognizable for her role as Carly, the wife (and then ex) of Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights.

So far, there hasn’t been much Christmas in this episode, but Tim’s mom then begins talking about all of the Christmases spent in the house.  Tim has a black-and-white flashback scene to the Christmas he helped his father finish the staircase.  Of course, Tim messes up the project, and his Dad patiently tells him that he’ll find his calling someday, but tools and home improvement just aren’t for him.  Tim’s father in the flashback scene is played by stand up comedian Todd Glass.

Tim decides to have one last big Christmas dinner at the house, even though Christmas is a week away.  In honor of his mother’s first Christmas in the house, when they ate Chinese food on the floor because they had no money or furniture, Tim orders take out.  The episode ends with the entire family on the floor, eating pizza and linguini, and sharing Christmas memories.   

Season Seven:  “Bright Christmas” (December 16, 1996)

Tim is bragging about what will be his most exciting display ever for the lighting contest when the boys come in with a flyer from the contest committee.  The flyer says that “Due to certain rooftop displays that continually exceed the bounds of prudent energy consumption and good taste, this year’s lighting contest will be strictly regulated.”  When Tim asks what this has to do with him, Randy points out the flyer states, “This will be referred to as the “Tim Taylor clause.”  The new rules:  Electricity limited to two 20 amp breakers, no bulbs over 25 watts, the maximum height for elves to be 3 feet tall, and nativity scenes may only include characters specifically mentioned in the Bible.

Tim later decides that since Wilson will not be participating in this year’s contest, Wilson can “donate” the two “allowed” circuit breakers so Tim can have four.  He also figures that if Wilson gets 3 feet for elves but will not use them, Tim can now have 6 feet.  Pretty ingenious.

Jill’s mother is arriving soon, and Jill asks Tim to be extra nice since it’s her first holiday season since The Colonel died, and she’s bound to be sad and lonely.  Lillian arrives but surprisingly is more bubbly than ever.  Jill’s mother shocks her when she asks if she can invite her new boyfriend, Parker, to Christmas.  She beams, talking about how smart he is, that he is a retired electrical engineer, and how much fun she is having with him.  She mentions trips dancing and weekend getaways, which gross Jill out to think about.  It seems to Jill that her mother is enjoying herself more now that her father is dead.

Inside, Lillian is grossing Jill out with more stories of how she and Parker met and all of their romantic weekends away together.  Tim comes in and begins bragging how smart Parker is, having solved his lighting problem using his electrical engineer background.  This upsets Jill that Tim likes what she considers her father’s replacement and destroys his “Keith Patridge in a Pear Tree” decoration.  She then tells Tim about her mother’s “tawdry naked square dancing weekend” story as payback.

Jill discusses Lillians’s situation with Wilson, who, like always, gives good advice.  Meanwhile, Tim is up on the roof and lights up his decorations, which are so bright he needs welding goggles to protect his eyes.

The next morning, Jill confesses to her mother that she is worried she began dating too soon.  Lillian admits she struggles daily with guilt over Parker and her deceased husband.  The two reminisce about past Christmases with The Colonel, and Jill gives her mom a gift of Lillian’s restored wedding photo from 51 years ago.

Season Eight:  “Home for the Holidays” (December 8, 1996)

In an interesting maneuver for the final season, the show that aired closest to Christmas was not Christmas related.  On Wikipedia, the production codes are correct, so it’s not as if they were filmed and aired out of order.  Maybe there was a scheduling error with the network that moved everything up a week?  So, the episode that aired on December 15, 1998, titled “Ploys for Tots” (a play on Tim Allen’s favorite charity Toys for Tots) had nothing to do with Christmas.

In “Home for the Holidays,” a week prior, we start off with another Tool Time on location, but this time it’s Al’s roof.  It’ll be the first Christmas in his new house, and Al is excited to decorate.  Al reminds Tim that since the house is in his neighborhood, he’s entering the annual lighting contest to defeat Tim and Doc Johnson.  Tim then reminds Al that he is renting this house from the Taylor family, so technically, Tim owns everything, so if Al wins, the trophy is his.

After the show, Al says he has his own secret weapon for the contest:  his girlfriend Trudy.  Trudy is played by Megan Cavanagh, best known as Marla Hooch in “A League of Their Own.”  Trudy says she has some cute decorations, and Tim explains that cute won’t cut it, but big does.  As he says that, a giant inflatable Santa Claus, larger than the house, blows up behind them. 

At home, Tim tells Jill he’s worried Al plans to cheat in the contest, but she’s not as concerned since he likely learned how to cheat from Tim.  He rigs a wise man statue to shoot a harpoon gun in hopes of targeting Al’s giant inflatable Santa Claus.

Now living in Tim and Jill’s house, Marty’s twin girls complain about their parents fighting again.  Marty and Nancy have been at each other’s throats for months and even more so since the divorce.  This is one of the heavier topics that often felt forced during the show’s final season that I’ve mentioned previously. 

Randy walks in and surprises the family, home for the first time after a year in Costa Rica!  Tim can’t stay long as Brad runs in and yells that the manger scene is on fire!  Jill runs off with the two girls, and Randy is suddenly left alone in the kitchen.  He explores his old bedroom, now shared by his two brothers, and is grossed out at the pig stye.  Brad and Mark come in, busy sharing a laugh at an inside joke.  Randy feels left out of his two brothers’ lives, especially when Mark asks how Puerto Rico was (instead of Costa Rica.)

Later, the family, including Tim’s mom and two brothers, come in from Christmas Eve Church service.  They all gather around the tree, and Randy is excited for people to open the gift he bought them.  Tim cuts him off and insists the two girls open their presents first, which wind up being two pink toolboxes from the “Little Miss Binford Collection.” 

Tim’s Mom brings up Marty’s divorce again and shames him for ruining the girls’ Christmas.  Randy again insists they open his present, a small box with everyone’s name attached.  Tim opens it and reads the note aloud:  ” A tree in the rainforest is being protected in your name.”  Randy apologizes to Marty for only putting his name and not Nancy’s, and Uncle Jeff jokes that since Nancy kept the house, Marty better hold onto that tree.  This joke sets off Grandma again, screaming about those poor girls in a broken home on Christmas.

To stop the divorce talk, Tim suggests opening more presents.  Tim opens an empty box that was supposed to contain a set of special Christmas lights for his display.  Brad and Mark tell him it’s empty because they’ve already put it up on the manger scene, and Tim excitedly pushes past Randy to go look. Everyone runs outside except Randy, who looks sadly at his gift and walks off to his bedroom.

Meanwhile, Al and Trudy are on the roof, surveying the damage done to their display.  When Trudy asks what kind of sick individual would do such a thing, we see Tim and his harpoon gun Wiseman watching them with binoculars.

Randy wakes early on Christmas morning, and Jill asks Randy what’s been going on with him.  He’s excited someone is finally interested but is quickly interrupted by Marty and the twins.  Grandma soon enters and cuts Randy off a second time.  Tim comes in upset his harpoons keep missing the inflatable Santa.  Downtrodden, Randy finds himself in the backyard with Wilson.  He admits he expected everyone to be happy to see him, but it seems like life has passed him by, and he no longer fits into the Taylor family. 

Tim knocks a decoration off of the roof, and Randy carries it up to Tim.  The two start a discussion on Costa Rica, and Jill appears on the ladder shortly and begins asking about Randy’s life.  He admits he misses a lot about home and when he gets to see his girlfriend Lauren, all they can do is discuss what it used to be like living in Detroit.

Tim doesn’t believe much has changed, but Randy reminds him that Mark is 5 inches taller and 3 new people live in the house.  Brad and Mark are now best friends instead of worst enemies, and it all makes Randy feel like he’s living in a hotel.  Jill says that perhaps living through the changes make them less noticeable.  Tim starts to agree but falls off the roof one last time.  
Even Randy must agree that some things never change.  

About Jeff Sheldon 33 Articles
Born in the 80's. Child of the 90's. I fly people places for a living and enjoy discussing the good old days of yester-year.