It's Christmas time and Ty and the team are headed to Columbus, Ohio to surprise the Rhodes family. They are a tight-knit, hardworking, loving and joyous crew that has lived in their neighborhood for more than five generations. The Rhodes family has always put family first. So when Grandpa James and Grandma Jackie's (also known as the neighborhood's beloved "Big Momma") adult daughter, Makia, was diagnosed with a potentially deadly brain tumor, they did not hesitate to take her and her kids into their 941-square foot home.
Now there are seven people living in this small dilapidated home, and although Makia has made progress, she's still experiencing mental delays and difficulties. She relies on her parents' support every day. Despite the very cramped quarters and difficult conditions, the family still manages to exude joy, laughter and love in an inspiring example of devotion and sacrifice. But they need an early Christmas gift in the form of a new home. Know anyone besides Santa who can help?
Ty and designers Michael, Tracy, Sabrina and local builders P&D Builders, Ltd., as well as community volunteers take down the house with some of the biggest candy canes ever seen. 65 Santa Clauses from the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas assisted in a very merry demolition of the old home. The real Santa provides the final magical blow as the family cheers via video from their vacation break in San Diego. Some more family members surprise them during a holiday boat parade in the harbor.
Ty visits the Tray Lee Community Center. It's a place that has fallen on hard times. This center has been around for generations just like the Rhodes family, so it gets a makeover, too. The folks that run the center and the Rhodes family are amazed by the beautiful new building, new landscaping and new sign out front. With some help from American Family Insurance, the building is completely redone and supplied with many new computers. The company also provides a $50,000 home maintenance fund for the Rhodes family.
Ty challenges the design team to decorate a house while neighborhood kids tackle the one right next door. There's more holiday fun as the team holds a gift drive to provide presents to those in need. Members of the band Journey help spread the word about the gift drive. That's fitting since "Don't Stop Believin,'" is James Rhodes' motto. The spirit of giving continues when James pulls some shredded paper from a sand castle on the beach. It's actually the family's mortgage which has been paid in full.
Santa's sleigh brings the family home a little early so they can judge the home decorating competition. The designers' home is nice, but the house the kids did is an animated flashing light and music masterpiece. In other news, a neighborhood park is transformed into a winter wonderland for the kids. Finally, it's time to MOVE THAT BUS!
Here's a breakdown of the new digs:
• The three-story house is amazing. There's an old school stoop where the entire family can hang out before heading through the front door.
• The inside is a huge, Christmas-themed explosion of open space. The dining room is big enough for the entire family to share a holiday meal together at one table.
• The huge Christmas tree in the corner is filled with presents from Sears for the entire family.
• The highlight of the backyard is the huge roof deck that can house about 15-20 people. Sabrina went to an auto salvage yard to pick up some real tailgates for the décor. It's the perfect place for James to catch the big game.
• Jiona and Nya love butterflies and ladybugs, so the huge 3D mural in their room is a flowery delight. Butterflies hang from the ceiling and ladybug pillows rest on the bed.
• Jawan's room features a new bed and a wall that opens up into a hidden weight room.
• The wall fountain in Makia's new room features a photo of the family printed on tile.
• Mahogany really wants to be a hairdresser, so the chandelier made out of hair dryers blows her away. Welcome to Mahogany's Salon!
• The family game room features a big TV and a game table in the center. All four walls contain graphics of the landmarks in the area as well as authentic street signs from the city.
• The headboard on James and Jackie's bed features a design with two trees blending together to form one family tree. Pictures of the kids are all over it, as is a welcome sign for the Rhodes family.
• Jackie used to have a "better" sign in her old home. There's a new one in her new room to indicate that things finally have gotten better.
James and Jackie were never able to present each other with real wedding bands. Well, one last present for each of them puts an end to all that. In the season of giving, this is one Christmas one family will remember forever. Welcome home, Rhodes family. Welcome home. Happy holidays, too!