Sophomore construction science student Jordan Maywald won $50,000 and first place on the national ABC-TV show “The Great Christmas Light Fight” on Dec. 9 for a beautiful, massive light display constructed at his family’s Austin home.
The youngest-ever winner on the show, Maywald’s love for Christmas lights started 15 years ago when helping his father put up some simple icicle lights. By age nine, he had taken over and started collecting vintage decorations, which he meticulously paints by hand, fixes and brings back to life.
Because “Everything is bigger in Texas,” as he said in a show promo, he also creates his own large-scale holiday decorations including a 15-foot lighthouse, giant snowman made from tractor tires, a life-size gingerbread house, sleigh, reindeer and more.
“This is crazy,” said Carter Oosterhouse, show judge. “It’s really surprising that a 21-year-old could pull this together.”
Maywald used his construction science skills to help create some displays, speaking on the show about drafting out plans before building and using common construction materials like floor-stick tiles to create paths.
He spends four months putting it all together, going home each weekend to work on the acres-wide, 120,000 light production. People drive from all over Texas to see the creation each year.
But the light display isn’t just made to be visually impressive, it’s meant to inspire giving.
Maywald collects donations from visitors for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. So far, he has raised over $30,000 and funded six wishes for children with critical illnesses.
This year he hopes to raise $20,000 and fund four wishes through donations, and is currently 10 percent funded on his Make-A-Wish [fundraising page] (https://secure2.wish.org/site/TR;jsessionid=00000000.app20111a?px=5015791&fr_id=3405&pg=personal&NONCE_TOKEN=0C436FB6B58492364A1EB1404C13D7BE#.Xe_9UbQ-c9w) .
You can visit the [Maywald Christmas Display] (https://maywaldchristmasdisplay.weebly.com/) at 10505 Twilight Vista in Austin.