Premiering at 9 p.m. EST Tuesday, the “Lighting Up the Holidays” episode will star 1995 Carver High School graduate Alida Abdullah and her husband, Shakeer, as they search for a home to accommodate them and their four children, ages 4-12. They moved from Minnesota to the Atlanta suburbs.
Alida’s father is retired Carver football and track coach Wallace Davis, a Chattahoochee Valley Sports Hall of Fame member. Davis and his wife, Ann, also appear in the episode, which includes scenes shot at the Davis home in Columbus.
“We had a really good time preparing for the show,” Ann told the Ledger-Enquirer in a phone interview Friday. “It was a lot of fun, but it was a lot different than we thought it was going to be.”
For example, Ann said, the film crew arrived in an SUV instead of an 18-wheeler.
“They had only one cameraman and two or three other people coordinating everything, telling us what to do, where to stand,” she said.
Also unusual, Ann said, they had to wear sweaters and jackets in the Georgia heat because HGTV filmed this Christmas-themed episode during the summer.
Shakeer, who was the assistant vice president for equity and diversity at the University of Minnesota, became the vice president for student affairs at Clayton State University in July. He and Alida stayed with Coach Davis and Ann while Shakeer interviewed for the job in May. And that’s when he also applied to be on the show.
“HGTV was looking for couples moving to different locations,” Ann said.
She hopes to watch the premier with family members Tuesday night. Regardless, she added, they will tape it so they can watch it during the holidays.
Here’s how HGTV describes the episode:
“A family of six is moving to Atlanta, GA, where they hope to find a home large enough to host lots of relatives in time for Christmas and Kwanzaa. She wants something move-in ready with an open concept kitchen, but he’s happy with a fixer-upper as long as it has a three-car garage and a bargain price tag.”
Mark Rice, 706-576-6272, @MarkRiceLE.