Lara Spencer, known to television fans as a regular contributor on Good Morning America and host of the hit series Flea Market Flip, will work with a team of designers, contractors and volunteers to give the town of Santa Claus, Indiana, the biggest Christmas present it has ever received on HGTV’s Surprising Santa Claus (Friday, Dec. 25 at 9/8c). It will be a race against the clock as her team tackles two surprise home renovations and a special bonus for the town square that will spread holiday cheer to the whole community. “It’s been a difficult year for everybody and I think this is a perfect way to wrap it up on a high note. This town embodies the spirit of positivity and giving back,” Spencer says. “I’m really, really proud to be a part of this.” Here Spencer answered a few of our questions.
How familiar were you with Santa Claus, Indiana?
It is the cutest town filled with, as you would imagine, the nicest people in America. A real fun fact that I just learned is that every letter that’s addressed to the legendary person (we’ll say, as we shouldn’t give it away), that’s put in a mailbox goes to Santa Claus, Indiana, and is answered by a group of volunteers. This is a town of 2,500 people. So you can imagine how much work they put into this endeavor to make sure that no child is left disappointed and [everyone] gets a response. I met the matriarch who started this endeavor many, many years ago.
What made you want to be a part of this special?
The folks from HGTV told me about the idea of surprising two very deserving families in this town of Santa Claus, Indiana, with renovations in time for the holidays. And our builder, who is spearheading the charge for this — a major, tall order in a short period of time, to get this done by Christmas — is also a Santa Claus on the side. You can’t make it up. This is really happening. I couldn’t believe it.
It almost sounds like a Hallmark movie?
Well, it’s funny that you mentioned that, because the production company that we’re working with does a lot of Hallmark movies. So imagine a real-life Hallmark movie with amazing renovations, for incredibly deserving families, that will melt your heart, warm your soul, all in time for Christmas. It’s the perfect storm of holiday renovation spectaculars.
How does the reveal work?
These will be surprise reveals, where I will lead the way and take them into their new homes. I was there when we heard their stories and why they were nominated, and then I went to visit them. We narrowed it down to a few families and then leaned in on these two particular families, and I think you’ll understand why when you meet them. So I toured the houses before and heard their wish list and then I got Ron the builder, who looks just like Santa, and all of his elves going and they have not stopped and they will not stop until [they are done]. We will do the big reveals and also surprise the town with a very special gift.
What will the holidays be like for your family this year?
I’m really looking forward to a slower, quieter Christmas with the people I love and focusing on the things that are really important to our family.