Santa Claus is usually the one who shares surprises at Christmastime. But this year, HGTV is surprising the town of Santa Claus—and two lucky families—with holiday cheer, home renovations, and a top-secret gift!
Earlier this year, a casting company sought applications from Santa Claus residents hoping for holiday home renovations. There were nearly 100 submissions! After rigorous reviewing and interviews, the team narrowed in on four finalists by the fall.
During a “normal” year, the production team would visit the area to scout locations and determine an action plan for filming. This year, as we all know, is a bit different. Logistics were worked out via Zoom with a few locals to address everything from crew lodging to helping source local hand sanitizer.
By October, the production team arrived in town to begin pre-production for “Surprising Santa Claus.” The executive producer, Ming Lee Howell, met with the four families vying for home renovations, sat down with Mrs. Koch to hear about the town’s magical history, and explored some of the area’s must-see sites.
On a bright, sunny (and exceptionally warm!) day in November, the HGTV crew brought host Lara Spencer to surprise two lucky families.
With jingle bells in hand, Lara walked up to the first house with local builder, Ron Smith. Between screams and tears of joy, the Winkler family excitedly welcomed the cameras into their home to talk through what they love… and what they would love to change about their house of many years. Later the same day, Lara and Ron shook their bells outside of the Boyd family home. It was hard to tell who was more excited – the kids or the parents!
To fully capture the festive history of Santa Claus, Indiana, what better place to visit than the Santa Claus Museum & Village? In fact, a chat with the town’s Chief Elf is the best way to learn all about the magical town over the years. Mrs. Koch, who founded the Santa Claus Museum, has been helping Santa answer letters written from all over the world for most of her life. Lara sat down to chat with Mrs. Koch about her father – Santa – and so much more.
Because it IS the holidays after all, HGTV plans to gift the town with a super-secret surprise. We can’t reveal any details, but we’re looking forward to seeing what they’ve cooked up for the town.
Want to find out what happens next? Tune into HGTV on Christmas Day to see this 90-minute special at 8:00 pm CT (9:00 pm ET)!