If you’ve been watching “The Great Christmas Light Fight” on Mondays on ABC, then you are well aware of Allen Holt. If you missed it, then you missed Holt, an LCO in New England, display his holiday spirit for the nation on the show’s premier episode, which aired Monday, Dec. 9.
The show puts intense Christmas decorators against each other and picks a $50,000 winner each episode.
Holt and his father own a family-run lawn care business, A & K Services. Holt’s parents started the business when he was 15 and when he turned 16, he began working with the company too. They’ve now been working together for about 17 years, working three or four days a week and maintaining 100 yards.
Christmas lighting is a family business for the Holts as well.
“My father’s always done lights,” Holt says. “I used to always help him when I was little.”
When Holt and his wife, Cattina, bought their first house, he began following in his dad’s footsteps and decorating for Christmas as well. Each year more was added, but Holt says it didn’t become such a big deal until he took it up a notch.
“About 3 years ago was when I started programming all the lights to the music,” he says. “We were in a newspaper article that year, and that’s when it really got big and blew up. It’s grown ever since.”
Holt says they have about 70,000 lights on display, along with almost 50 inflatables in the yard, which is where his lawn care experience comes in handy.
“Every single one of those inflatables kills each spot in the grass, so with me having the knowledge of being able to transform my yard back into grass, I guess that helps in making my yard look decent throughout the year,” he says. “When I pick these up in a couple weeks, it literally will kill every single spot. My whole yard’s going to have 46 dead spots. It doesn’t take long to get it back to normal.”
The show’s production filmed each contestant setting up the display, as well as filming when the display was officially lit.
“I usually don’t start my display until right there around Halloween, but for the show they were out here towards the end of September, and you only had 21 days to have it done,” he says. “We had everything done and ready for the judge to see in the middle of October.”
Holt didn’t end up winning, but he said the experience was worth it.
“It was a really cool experience, because it’s something most people never get a chance to do,” he says. “We’ve been on local news before where they come out with one camera guy and a news anchor and that’s it. This was a full-blown ABC-type scale. There were two or three camera guys, PAs, sound guys, producers. They were here for two days at the start of the competition, and the last three days to film the end of the competition. It was cool to go through it all.”
Holt says he also thinks it’s important for other lawn care professionals to take the time to get their houses and lawns ready for the holiday season.
“For us at least, the end of the year is finally our time to start winding down and recouping from the spring and the summer and the fall,” he says. “You can’t just take a week off in the summer like most people can. Winter time is our vacation time so it helps us get relief from all the stress that comes along with the whole year. By the time it’s the end of the year, you’re ready to get some kind of stress relief. It helps me and my father at least to just get away from the lawn care part of it and just enjoy putting up the lights and seeing all the joy on all the faces that come by.”