Texas A&M Student Wins $50,000 For ABC-TV Lights Display
Texas A&M University construction science sophomore Jordan Maywald won $50,000 on Dec. 9 for his first place finish on the national ABC-TV show “The Great Christmas Light Fight” for a massive light display at his family’s Austin home.
The show’s youngest-ever winner, Maywald’s love for Christmas lighting started 15 years ago when helping his father put up some simple icicle lights. By the age of nine, he had taken over the task and started collecting vintage decorations that he meticulously paints by hand and brings back to life.
Because “everything is bigger in Texas,” as he said in a show promo, Maywald also creates his own large-scale holiday decorations, including a 15-foot lighthouse, a giant snowman made from tractor tires, a life-size gingerbread house, a sleigh, reindeer and more.
“This is crazy,” said Carter Oosterhouse, a 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 spent four months putting it all together, going home each weekend to work on the large 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 more than $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.
You can visit the Maywald Christmas Display at 10505 Twilight Vista in Austin.