ABC’s ‘Christmas Light Fight’: 2 Texas families win $50K each

The home of Preston Ward in Keller, who’s appearing on “The Great Christmas Light Fight”.

The home of Preston Ward in Keller, who’s appearing on “The Great Christmas Light Fight”.

Sky Elements

Three Texas families shined bright this season on “The Great Christmas Light Fight.”

The ABC show features four families every episode who compete by transforming their homes for the holidays. The winner wins a trophy and a $50,000 cash prize. Viewers can watch the show via ABC’s website or on Hulu.

Texas was well-represented on the show’s 11th season, with the Ward (Keller), Brown (Wichita Falls) and Tinnin (Bay City) families making appearances on the show. The Ward and Brown families both won, taking home the big cash prize.

Each display from the families from Texas were unique — from utilizing drones and imaginative lights, to handmade items and repurposed props. However, what all three families shared, was an excitement to see their displays on the small screen.

“We’ve been waiting for this moment for two years,” Preston Ward said.

The home of Preston Ward in Keller, who’s appearing on “The Great Christmas Light Fight”.
The home of Preston Ward in Keller, who’s appearing on “The Great Christmas Light Fight”. Sky Elements

20,000 lights and 400 drones for the Ward family

  • Episode: Season 11 episode 2
  • Christmas light display address: 1729 Sawtooth Oak Trail, Keller

The Ward’s Christmas light display includes two components, an over 20,000 light array on the house and a show featuring 400 drones above.

Ward said the family’s display has grown over the years from using animated lights to finally including drones, which he has a good grasp on. Ward serves as general counsel/chief pilot for the North Richland Hills-based drone show company — Sky Elements.

In 2021, the Ward’s put together a video of their home light display with drones overhead. Show producers saw the video and reached out to the family, encouraging them to apply for the ABC program. The Ward’s did and landed a spot on the show.

The home of Preston Ward in Keller, who’s appearing on “The Great Christmas Light Fight”.
The home of Preston Ward in Keller, who’s appearing on “The Great Christmas Light Fight”. Sky Elements

Over 20,000 lights were used for the display, to create items such as candy canes, Christmas trees and stars. A crane was used to place eight moving head spotlights atop the house, Ward said.

For the sky show, over 400 drones were used to create shapes that resemble a snow globe and even Santa Claus being pulled by reindeer on his sleigh. Both displays combine to tell the story of penguin saving Christmas.

The Ward family won the $50,000 prize and plan to donate the money to Hope Mommies, a nonprofit who aids families who have experienced miscarriages and infant death. The Ward’s lost their daughter prematurely a few years ago and the donation will go to support those who have experienced similar events.

“I’m just super excited for everybody to see what we put together and fingers crossed for the weekend,” Ward told the Star-Telegram earlier this month.

The Brown family from Wichita Falls competed on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight”.
The Brown family from Wichita Falls competed on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight”. The Brown family

Board game Candy Land comes to life for the Brown family

The Brown family’s display draws its inspiration from the board game Candy Land.

When the family started decorating their home for Christmas several years ago, they knew they wanted to have a theme, Brandon Brown said. Finally, the family decided on Candy Land as it was his wife Tiffany Brown’s favorite game growing up.

Now, the family’s been rocking the theme for nine years.

“It just kind of went from there and the possibilities are just kind of limitless,” Brandon Brown said.

The Brown family from Wichita Falls competed on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight”.
The Brown family from Wichita Falls competed on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight”. The Brown family

The Brown’s display is all handmade, from painting life-sized wooden characters to creating a multi-color track for game pieces.

Everything on the display is in support of the Candy Land theme, including giant lollipops, gum drops and an enormous castle background. Across the display, there’s 37 cut-out figures, 42 artificial trees and a whole mess of lights.

“The last time we checked, we’re right at half a million [lights],” Brown said.

The Brown family from Wichita Falls competed on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight”.
The Brown family from Wichita Falls competed on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight”. The Brown family

The Brown’s had been big fans of “The Great Christmas Light Fight” for years and while they thought it would be cool to appear on the show, they never applied.

That changed after a few fellow Wichita Falls residents nominated the family to be on the show. Brown took the support to heart, applied and received a call from the show not long after.

As for winning their episode and taking home the $50,000 prize, Brown said they have a few ideas for the money.

“I mean, not real big plans,” he said. “Put a little back into the display and probably go on a trip or something.”

The Tinnin family from Bay City competed on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight”.
The Tinnin family from Bay City competed on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight”. The Tinnin family

A Texas-sized Christmas village for the Tinnin family

The Tinnin family have turned their Victorian-style home into a Texas-sized Christmas village

After moving back to Trent Tinnin’s hometown of Bay City a few years ago, his wife Tammi Tinnin began working at an elementary school. Tammi asked her students where their favorite areas in the city were to see Christmas lights, and to her dismay, there wasn’t a ton of options.

“It broke my heart,” Tammi Tinnin said. “So I came home that night from school and I told my husband, ‘We are going to start decorating for Christmas for these kids’.”

The Tinnin family from Bay City competed on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight”.
The Tinnin family from Bay City competed on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight”. The Tinnin family

The Tinnin’s display is mostly built with repurposed decorations and donations from their community.

Most of the village is divided into 16 themed sections, from “Rudolph’s Runway” to “Prancer Parkway”. There’s also a section saved just for Texas called “Lone Star Lane”.

It’s there where visitors will find a one-third size replica of The Alamo and the “12 Days of Christmas in Texas,” which adds a Lone Star theme to the popular holiday song.

Visitors will find “12 boots-a-stompin,” “7 scoops of Blue Bell,” “4 Whataburgers” and a “Mockingbird in a Christmas Tree” at the display.

“We have no clue how many lights we got,” Trent Tannin said. “I mean, it’s in the hundreds of thousands, I would assume.”

The Tinnin family from Bay City competed on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight”.
The Tinnin family from Bay City competed on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight”. The Tinnin family

The Tinnin’s have been fans of “The Great Christmas Light Fight” for years and actually received a call from show producers about appearing on the program.

They jumped at the opportunity and regardless of not taking home the $50,000 prize, the family was just happy to be among like-minded folks.

“Being on the show, that is your trophy,” Tammi Tinnin said. “ That is truly just an honor in itself and anything beyond that is just like icing on the cake.”

Related stories from Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Profile Image of Brayden Garcia

Brayden Garcia is a service journalism reporter at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2020, where he worked at the student newspaper, The Shorthorn. He previously covered education at The Dallas Morning News.


source: star-telegram

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