The families featured on The Great Christmas Light Fight take holidays to the next level, so it shouldn’t come as a huge surprised that the ABC reality series is actually filmed months before it premieres.
The series showcases the “wildest and most spectacular Christmas displays” in America, visiting four families in each episode who have decorated their homes for the chance to win $50,000 and a pretty cool trophy.
This year, the very first episode aired on Nov. 26, which means most of the families who appeared on the show had those Christmas decorations up instead of Halloween decor.
So, when exactly do they tape The Great Christmas Light Fight?
Host Taniya Nayak shares behind-the-scenes photos from her time on the show, and in 2015, she revealed filming started for the show on Oct. 5 — over two months before Christmas. In 2018, the start date was pushed up to the beginning of November, which we know thanks to an Instagram post by co-host Carter Oosterhouse. “And we r off… flight 3 of 52,” he wrote on Nov. 2.
However, filming does not take too long, as Carter was back home by Nov. 22.
Is The Great Christmas Light Fight fake?
There have been rumors that the show is not as real as people think, mostly because the families aren’t told if they won until the show airs. This means each family is told they won so producers can get a “genuine” reaction and then made to film a reaction to losing the competition as well — at least according to former contestant Kevin Lynch, who competed in 2013.
He also explained how families are only given three weeks to set up their displays. “I was out decorating from eight in the morning ’til one in the morning every single day,” he told the New York Post. “I did get it done, but I will never do that again!”
And it’s only getting bigger. In 2018, the show is also airing “Heavyweights” episodes, dedicated to displays that are too big for the average home. “This year we decided to go bigger,” Carter said . “Most people have never seen anything, I know I have never seen anything like that, and when I did it was just overwhelming, it took a second to just really program what I was looking at.”
Carter also reassured fans that the decorations won’t get repetitive. “You would think a lot of it would be the same, and the reality is it’s not,” he added. “Every space is unique, every space is an experience, and every space has its own touch of how they do Christmas.”
Watch The Great Christmas Light Fight on Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.