The Great Christmas Light Fight: Waco, Longwood, Indian Trail & Mt. Shasta

The season five finale of The Great Christmas Light Fight was the most spectacular yet! Viewers were mesmerized, with over 4.23 million tuning in to ABC on December 18th, 2017.

Great Christmas Light Fight
Great Christmas Light Fight

Four amazing families showcased their incredible displays—each one more dazzling than the next. The Tristan family from Waco, Texas had a winter wonderland that would make Santa himself envious. In sunny Longwood, Florida, the Cheslin-Laneaux family put on an extravaganza inspired by Disney World’s Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights – complete with elves and all! North Carolina’s Smaragdis family went all out with over 200,000 lights covering every inch of their home. Last but not least, the Athens family from Mt. Shasta, California had an enchanting display featuring a cozy Santa’s cottage.

After taking it all in, judge Taniya Nayak faced the tough decision of who would be crowned champion and take home the Christmas Light trophy…as well as $50,000!

The Great Christmas Light Fight Displays

The Tristan Christmas lights in Waco, Texas of the Great Christmas Light Fight

Alice Tristan’s house is a veritable winter wonderland, with over 50 years of Christmas decorations and memorabilia. Every year for more than 40 years, the iconic ‘Christmas House’ has been filled to the brim with hundreds of holiday figurines and thousands of lights. Located on North 28th street next to Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center, the tradition began when Mrs. Tristan’s daughter was hospitalized during the holidays – they wanted her to be able to see the lights from her window. Even in her 70s, Mrs. Tristan is still learning new skills each year; she recently became an electrician in order to keep up with all of her ambitious projects!

Come November, Mrs. Tristan begins decking out her entire house with lights and decorations, turning it into a festive holiday spectacle. Every year, more and more people flock to the ‘Christmas House’ to experience the joy of the season. Local kids even come back every year for a family tradition; Mrs. Tristan loves seeing them have a good time! She puts in countless hours each year making sure that everyone who visits is left awestruck by its beauty. We can all thank Mrs. Tristan’s love of Christmas and dedication to this yearly tradition for our own seasonal cheer – so make sure you don’t miss out on this Central Texas holiday staple!

The Cheslin-Laneaux Christmas lights in Longwood, Florida of the Great Christmas Light Fight

In 2005, Jim Cheslin and Alex Laneaux were inspired by the Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights from Disney Hollywood Studios as they drove home from a visit to the Walt Disney World Resort. They decided to recreate their own elaborate holiday light show at their Longwood home. It took a lot of hard work from both partners, but after three weeks of assembly, starting around Labor Day and ending in time for Thanksgiving, their display with 100,000 LEDs covering their home and yard was ready to go. Each year since then, hurricanes have challenged the couple’s creative spirit – but this did not stop them from adding new elements such as a 16-foot Christmas tree of bulbs synced up to a medley of classic and modern songs including RuPaul’s “You’re the Star (On My Christmas Tree).” This attention-grabbing display even caught the attention of ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight!

The Nikitas’ Christmas Wonderland in Indian Trail, North Carolina of the Great Christmas Light Fight

The Smaragdis family of Indian Trail, North Carolina has been creating their festive Christmas wonderland for over 20 years. Every year they add new buildings to the 142,000-light display that takes 660 man-hours and months of planning to complete in time for Thanksgiving. The yearly tradition is called Nikitas’ Christmas Wonderland and can be seen by up to 500 visitors some nights.

The Smaragdis family starts planning and building in August, creating new buildings from wood and PVC pipes each year. Currently there are 13 unique structures that make up the display. The family takes donations for Hemby Children’s Hospital, which Katina Smaragdis especially loves doing as it helps those in need.

In January the family takes 100 man-hours to take the display down, and begins planning for the next year. The Smaragdis family is dedicated to bringing joy to others with their Christmas wonderland every holiday season.

The Athens Christmas lights in Mt. Shasta, California of the Great Christmas Light Fight

Their Mt. Shasta light display is a true labor of love and dedication. Every year, they start setting up the decorations in early October, taking two to three days just to plan the wiring and electrical needs for the 100,000 Christmas lights used to create the dazzling display. Local families are invited to come enjoy this free holiday spectacle, complete with Santa and his reindeer, cartoon characters, more than 50 Christmas trees, plus other festive decorations.

David and Cathy’s Mt. Shasta display began as a small endeavor when they first married 11 years ago; David had only a 4-foot fiber optic tree to show for his holiday spirit! But once Cathy asked him to “put some lights up around the house,” their Mt. Shasta Christmas decorating journey began.

The Athens’ hope each year that their Mt. Shasta display will bring joy to the local community and inspire families to come out and share in their holiday spirit. The Mt. Shasta display is usually open until January 3rd. Head to 936 Douglas Lane and get ready to be amazed!

The Great Christmas Light Fight Season 5 Episode 6 Finale Hosts

About Taniya Nayak of the Great Christmas Light Fight

Taniya Nayak is one of the most celebrated and lauded interior designers and television personalities today. With projects on HGTV, Food Network, and many DIY projects, she has become a well-respected leader in her field. She began her career as a design assistant on Trading Spaces, where her talent was quickly noticed, leading to her becoming one of the show’s most prolific designers. Her signature style combines modern elements with classic sophistication while emphasizing comfort in all her designs, which have earned her the chance to work with such prestigious brands as Robert Allen Design and Uttermost. Additionally, she has starred in her own shows such as Deserving Design and Taniya’s Tea Room on The Cooking Channel.

Carter Oosterhouse and Taniya Nayak of The Great Christmas Light Fight
Carter Oosterhouse and Taniya Nayak of The Great Christmas Light Fight

Nayak’s success extends beyond the world of interior design – she is also a prominent figure in holiday décor and special needs communities. She was recently chosen as one of the judges for ABC’s popular holiday competition show The Great Christmas Light Fight together with host Carter Oosterhouse – helping families create beautiful festive decorations for a chance to win $50,000! Moreover, she visits children’s hospitals all over the US to spread cancer awareness, and serves as an honorary celebrity coach / mentor for Special Olympics Massachusetts. Her tireless efforts in these areas demonstrate why Taniya Nayak continues to be praised and admired by so many.

About Carter Oosterhouse of the Great Christmas Light Fight

Carter Oosterhouse is also a passionate philanthropist, contributing to many charitable causes throughout his career. He is an active member of the Humane Society and regularly donates money to charities for animal rescue and senior pet adoption centers. Additionally, he has supported a variety of other causes such as education initiatives, breast cancer research, veterans’ affairs and disaster relief.

Carter Oosterhouse is an engaging television host and carpenter who has been entertaining audiences since the late 1990s with his warm personality, infectious enthusiasm and down-to-earth charm. He is a true DIYer who helps people bring their home improvement dreams to life while contributing to meaningful causes in his spare time. With a knack for inspiring creativity and an unrelenting dedication to charity, Carter Oosterhouse is truly making the world a better place.

Carter Oosterhouse’s commitment to helping people create unforgettable holiday experiences has made him a respected figure within the home improvement community. He has been invited to appear on numerous television shows, including Good Morning America and Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Sunday, to share his passion for transforming homes into stunning works of art. His work with The Great Christmas Light Fight continues to bring joy to families across the country as they compete for a grand prize worth $50,000.

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Melinda Parker
Melinda Parker
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