Jordan Maywald ’22 has a heartfelt reason for holiday decor: to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Maywald has worked on his family’s 3.5-acre Christmas light display in south Austin since he was 9 years old but realized it was getting big in 2015 when countless visitors began stopping by. The attention prompted the Maywalds to encourage their 15,000-plus annual visitors to make on-site donations to fund wishes.
As of July 2022, the Maywald family had raised more than $200,000 and granted 27 wishes for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Whenever another wish is granted, a new reindeer joins Santa’s sleigh in their display.
“Make-A-Wish is such a great organization,” Maywald said. “The families send us pictures and stories of the kids we grant wishes for. Some even come out the following year, and we get to meet the kids and show them the lights.”
Maywald’s first-place win on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight” in 2019 further cemented his Clark Griswold-level decorating fame. A May 2022 construction science graduate, he plans to turn his passion for festive lighting into a full-time job for residential and commercial customers. But don’t worry: He’s still committed to orchestrating the 250,000 twinkling lights at his family’s home that got him into the Christmas business.