San Antonio-area couple wins $50,000 prize on ABC’s ‘Great Christmas Light Fight’

John and Brenda Wilson’s home is popular display in Windcrest

WINDCREST, Texas – A Windcrest couple has bragging rights for the best Christmas light display in the state after winning ABC’s Texas episode of “Great Christmas Light Fight” on Sunday.

John and Brenda Wilson were featured during the ninth season premiere on ABC.

They faced stiff competition from a family in Amarillo and two families in Corpus Christi, but they came out on top with their elaborate display of lights and candy-themed decorations, including a full-sized Santa sleigh where the Wilsons, aka Mr. and Mrs. Claus, sit and wave to the cars that drive by, and a Peppermint Express train that puffs vanilla-scented smoke.

Even though the couple shot their episode last December, they had to wait an entire year to find out how the episode ended.

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.

John Wilson, 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 as the official set designer for their Christmas creations. And their display has gotten bigger and bigger each year.

Their home got the attention of one of the show’s casting directors who encouraged them to apply. The Wilson’s found out in August of 2020 that they were chosen and now the couple is about to go from being neighborhood famous to being national TV stars.

Twice last year, their cul-de-sac was cordoned off as a television crew got their footage. The first time, interior designer Taniya Nayak was there. The crew came back several weeks later to shoot show promos.

“It was a fantastic experience,” John Wilson said. “The whole team was great.”

Though 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 start prepping for their Christmas display each year in June or July and they start putting up lights each September.

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.

“It was an honor just to be selected,” Wilson said. “We just want people to get as excited as we are.”

Plus, they want to help the Windcrest Fire Department, which uses the event to collect donations each year for the department and other charities.

Light Up Windcrest kicks off on Dec. 4 and runs through the end of the year. You can see the Wilson’s home on Waycrest. Just look for Santa John and Mrs. Claus waving to the cars from their sleigh.

*Watch the video in the player at the top of this article to watch KSAT Meteorologist Adam Caskey give a tour of the Wilson’s light display last year.

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About the Author:

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 25 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.