ST. GEORGE — For the second time in two weeks, a home in St. George has been featured on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight” program — and won.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Dan Olsen said with a grin as he stood in the driveway of his lit-up home with a trophy in hand. “It’s really awesome.”
Olsen’s home, located at 2183 Harmony Place in St. George, sports an estimated 175,000 Christmas lights that blanket the property and light up the neighborhood. Lights cover every tree and bush on the property as Christmas music plays in the background, and just around the corner is a life-size gingerbread house with a mailbox out front marked “North Pole.”
Olsen said kids can put their letters to Santa Claus in the mail box, but added they need to remember to put their return addresses on the letter too, because Santa wants to be able to send them a reply.
Things started “getting out of hand” with their Christmas light decorating about 15 years ago, Olsen said. At the time, he said his wife wanted him to start wrapping up the trees in lights and it spread from there.
The elaborate decorating has led to a tradition of holding a lighting ceremony each Friday after Thanksgiving involving family and friends, Olsen said. Last year, his daughter made a video of the event and put it online. The video ended up getting the notice of one of the producers of “The Great Christmas Light Fight.”
ABC contacted the Olsens and they qualified to compete on the show.
It usually takes about 30 to 45 days to set up the Christmas lights and assorted decorations, Olsen said. A single tree can take two-to-three days and, with five trees on the property, that’s about two weeks’ worth of work, he said.
ABC gave the Olsens 23 days, he said. With the help of family, however, they got everything set up within the time limit — and it paid off.
On the program, the Olsen home was pitted against other homes lit up for the holidays and it came out on top, winning the Olsens a large trophy and $50,000 in prize money.
“We’re going to take a good portion of that and give it to Shriners Hospital,” Olsen said. “Our youngest daughter, two years ago, had a baby boy with a cleft lip and Shriners took them (in).”
The Shriners Hospitals for Children didn’t charge his daughter’s family for operations for her son, so in return, Olsen wants to pay it forward.
“The least we can do is give some of that back to them,” he said.
Olsen, and his wife, Jill, said they set the lights up year after year for the fun of it and also for the community and the people who come by and enjoy the display.
While they were talking, car after car drove by as people looked at the lights. Many of them congratulated the Olsens on their win while being awestruck by the Christmas lights.
Last week, the Kuhn home, also known as the Phineas and Ferb house (though castle would be more appropriate in this case), located at 445 W. Heritage Drive in St. George, also won on “The Great Christmas Light Fight.”
Both homes are featured on St. George News’ “The A-List” with host Ali Hill and tied for her personal pick for No. 1 for the best Christmas Lights in St. George.
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