Fox River Grove family featured on ABC reality show for Christmas lights

What started as a few blow molds and candles 32 years ago slowly has evolved into an elaborate Christmas display at a Fox River Grove home that has gained national attention.

The home at 1100 Algonquin Road was featured Monday on the ABC reality show “The Great Christmas Light Fight.”

Laura Mack said her flair for Christmas decorating began when she and her husband, Dave, set up a few decorations at a mobile home they shared. The tradition continued when they moved to Palatine, and then grew with a display at their current home, dubbed Mack Manor.

“One of our favorite things is when we hear, ‘My parents brought me here, and now I am bringing my kids,’ ” Laura Mack said. 

Laura Mack submitted an application video to ABC for “The Great Christmas Light Fight” at the behest of a co-worker. She received a call in January 2017, and a few phone and Skype interviews later, the Macks were asked to be on the show.

Crews arrived last November so as not to interfere with the family’s annual Halloween display, which Laura Mack said has been a tradition for the past 25 years.

Each week, the show features four families from around the country who ring in the holidays with elaborate Christmas displays. Decorations are judged by the use of lights, design and Christmas spirit, with the winning family earning a $50,000 prize.

Although the Mack family did not win this week’s episode, Laura Mack said she is glad her family’s message of Christmas spirit spread far beyond Fox River Grove. After all, being there for the community is the primary goal, she said.

Based on the positive feedback received over the years, the Mack family adopted an informal slogan: “When you leave, you believe.”

Decorations this year will be very similar to last year, so spectators will be able to recognize things they saw on the show, Mack said.

One change to the family’s display this year is the switch to LED lighting to prevent future power problems. Visitors can travel along the Macks’ driveway to see flying reindeer, blow-up Santas, nutcrackers and more.

“We tend to blow circuits and fuses a lot,” Laura Mack said.

Severe winter weather has pushed back completion of the family’s outdoor setup this year, but Laura Mack said it is about 80 percent finished, and they hope to be up and running soon.

Because of the national attention, she said, she is considering keeping the display up longer than their typical end date of Jan. 1.

Once the decorations are ready, Mack Manor will be open from 6 to
9 p.m. Check the Mack Manor Facebook page for updates on unexpected closures.

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