WINDCREST, Texas – The city of Windcrest is famous locally for its annual holiday light displays. Every year, thousands of people flock to the neighborhood to see the elaborate decorations on the homes there.
And now, one of the most well-known houses in the area is about to get some national fame because the homeowners were selected to compete on season nine of ABC’s “Great Christmas Light Fight.”
John and Brenda Wilson have one of the most elaborate displays in Windcrest, and that’s saying something.
John, or Santa John as he’s known, has lived in Windcrest for 20 years and has always participated in the annual Windcrest Light Up, but his efforts were kicked up a notch after he married Brenda 12 years ago. She’s become the Mrs. Claus to his Santa and the official set designer for their Christmas creations. And their display has gotten bigger and bigger each year.
Last holiday season, their home got the attention of one of the show’s casting directors who encouraged them to apply. The Wilsons found out in August that they were chosen and now the couple is about to go from being neighborhood famous to being national TV stars. That fame will have to wait until next year, however, because the show shoots its episodes a year in advance.
Several weeks ago, one of the show’s hosts, interior designer Taniya Nayak came to their home with a television crew to get the footage. They were back on Thursday night to get more footage for show promos.
“It was a fantastic experience,” John Wilson said. “The whole team was great.”
But shooting a TV show in 2020 had some extra challenges. The Wilsons said they had to take “many” COVID-19 tests along with everyone in the cast and crew. During filming, there were barriers in place to block off their street to anyone who had not been tested. And everyone wore masks. Nayak and the Wilsons only took them off while the cameras were rolling.
The Wilsons won’t know who they compete against or whether they’ll win the $50,000 grand prize for 12 more months, but they are pros at the long game. Their prep work starts in June or July every year and they actually start putting up lights each September.
“It was an honor just to be selected,” Wilson said.
They already have plenty of trophies -- winning three or four grand prizes in the Windcrest contest and several other category 1st place prizes. Now, they decorate not for the competition but for the reaction they get from families and especially kids.
“We just want people to get as excited as we are,” Wilson said.
Plus, they want to help the Windcrest Fire Department, who uses the event to collect donations each year for the department and other charities.
Light Up Windcrest runs through the end of the year. You can see the Wilson’s home on Waycrest. Just look for the train that puffs vanilla-scented smoke and the sleigh where you’ll find Santa John and Mrs. Claus waving to the cars driving past.
*Watch the video in the player above to watch KSAT Meteorologist Adam Caskey give a tour of the Wilson’s light display.