Surprising Santa Claus: What You Didn’t See

Surprising Santa Claus on HGTV

Did you watch Surprising Santa Claus on HGTV? 

We did, and we give it two festive thumbs up! Though the Visitors Bureau often had front-row seats to the HGTV crew’s hard work, there were still plenty of surprises as we watched the premiere last night. 

And even better, we have a few surprising insider secrets left to share! 

What You Didn’t See

  • When Executive Producer Ming Lee Howell asked if the Visitors Bureau knew of a sleigh to use for the show, it took one quick call to make it happen. James, the owner of JAWS Collision Center, just so happened to have a sleigh he intended to fix up for Santa. However, with all that 2020 brought, the sleigh hadn’t been touched. In less than a day after chatting, James and his crew got right to work… within no time the sleigh was ready for its HGTV debut.
  • The Visitors Bureau was called into action several times during filming. From procuring a steamer on the fly to helping facilitate the naming of the road for Mrs. Koch. At one point, I was even put to work on screen as an extra/“tree fluffer”… but ended up playing a bigger part to help the designers decorate the massive Christmas tree.
  • HGTV gifted the town with an impressive Christmas tree as you saw during the show. Leading up to the town celebration, our area experienced strong winds, and crews scrambled to make sure the tree remained standing! To keep it safe from unpredictable weather, the incredible tree was moved inside the historic Santa Claus church at the Santa Claus Museum & Village. It will be available to view in 2021.
  • It’s not every day a street is named after someone in Santa Claus, Indiana! Patricia Koch Drive will replace Main Street. This street is on land Mrs. Koch’s son, Philip Koch, donated to the town for future development a few years ago.

More Insider Info

  • The renovations to the home were amazing… and the families were truly in shock at what was accomplished in just a short month. But to make the homes extra-special, HGTV designers made sure to include something that didn’t require renovations: family photos! Special family photos were used to decorate both homes in an incredibly inviting way. 
  • Lara Spencer looked like a natural behind the wheel of Santa’s sleigh, right? When James, who renovated and provided use of the sleigh, offered a quick tutorial on driving it, she simply hopped right on, and said: “I got this!”   
  • If you loved the look of the town celebration, you’ll find many of the amazing decorations (and goodies!) from our very own Santa Claus Christmas Store. The life-sized nutcrackers certainly provide a “wow” factor! 
  • The beautiful snowfall that wrapped up the show was another surprise gift for the town. What was even more surprising is that on the first take, after Lara’s grand pronouncement to “let it snow,” there was… no snow. But that’s what second takes are for! 

Safety First

  • You may have noticed a lack of masks during the town celebration scenes. That’s because the celebration was limited to 50 people, and everyone who attended was required to be tested for COVID and present a negative result. The producers submitted a safety plan to the Spencer County Health Department to help ensure safety priorities for this special event.
  • Masks were always worn behind the scenes and a nurse was on set at all times. Safety protocols were followed and common areas were sanitized. 
  • All crew members were tested for COVID before arriving in town and took individual precautions to help maintain a high level of safety for everyone involved.

What You DID See on Surprising Santa Claus

If you watched the show, then you saw two families who were so grateful for (and so deserving of) holiday home renovations. You saw a town matriarch speak passionately about this place that she loves so much… and be presented with a gift that shows how much this place loves her.  

And finally, you saw a town where the Christmas spirit is alive not just during the holiday season, but every day of the year. Holiday cheer is in the businesses, in the community, and in the hearts of all the people that call this magical place home. 

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