"Holiday Wars" Episode 3 "Santa's New Gig": Lack of Imagination Stirs Up Missed Opportunities [SPOILER REVIEW]

This week on Food Network's Holiday Wars, host Jonathan Bennett and judges Shinmin Li and Jason Smith tasked the competitors to lock up the Christmas gifts and provide Santa with a side hustle post-holiday season. Children love to go sneaking around in the middle of the night looking for their gifts, from closets, to cupboards, to under the bed, and the garage, their curiosity always comes up with creative ways to find mom and dad's secret hiding spots.

With such creative challenges, it was a little disappointing that contestants didn't jump on the imagination sled and conceptualize barbwire, wild tigers, and the bogyman to keep sticky fingers away.  Instead they went a little too literal…

Holiday Wars consists of two rounds:

● Round #1 – Snowball Fight: Contestants are given an hour to create a small sculpture to represent a theme

● Round #2 – Winter Blizzard: Competitors are given five hours to create a festive display guaranteed to have us 'falalala'. They must also incorporate a delicious treat into their creation.

At the end of each episode a team is eliminated with the remaining teams competing for a chance to win $25,000

The teams this season are Ginger Snappers, Bah Hum Bakers, and Candy Stripers.

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Here are some of highlights from Episode 3 "Santa's New Gig"

● Round 1 "Ultimate Christmas Gift Security System": Contestants had to scare kids away from uncovering Santa's gifts. Not really sure any of the teams successfully accomplished this, Candy Stripers while their display was very detailed and immaculate strayed too far away from the Holidays and into the vault of a bank.

● Bah Hum Bakers created a honey badger guarding the various presents. Although this animal is quite ferocious in its defensive abilities, not sure a child would necessarily understand that, nor be discouraged from approaching. Out of the three, it was the most cohesive piece so the received the win and the advantage of an extra assistant in round two.

● Ginger Snappers probably should have sat this round out – their seated nutcracker with bizarre arm placement was quite disappointing and looked like they were about to fall off. The size of the nutcracker atop a very large gift too didn't scream "stay away" but rather flick me off.

● Round 2 "Santa's Side Hustle – with a Double-Flavored Treat": An amazing challenge to assign Mr. Claus a second job, one team thought he would make a fantastic yoga instructor, might have to lose a few pounds first.

● Ginger Snappers put Santa on stage to entertain kids with magic tricks. Some of the technical aspects were fantastic, the skin application and details, but Santa's face actually looked like it was about to peel off. The snowman being sawed in half was hilarious and very realistic. Their banana eggroll treat however didn't impress the judges.

● Bah Hum Bakers depicted Santa running a "Namaslay" reindeer yoga studio, an interesting play on goat yoga, and the stage was immaculate. The elf students were in motion in various yoga poses.  The impression on Santa's face alone and the reindeer mounted on his back is worth a see. The bonsai trees and the sugar orchid work was spectacular – they took home the win.

● Candy Stripers according to the judges missed the mark on Santa's sweet shop. I completely disagree.  Although there were some issues with proportions, the shop was a little too large for the characters, but the sheer amount of perfect detailed work was not deserving of them being sent home. The ice creams, candy, ice cream counter, all of these things outweighed the skill of the other teams.

Holiday Wars continues to impress in concept and creativity, but this episode it felt like competitors slacked a little.  Bah Hum Bakers clearly are better skilled in technical work and creative visions, while Ginger Snapper do a better job at grandiose pieces but are not able to dedicate enough time to details. So who will win? My pick is Bah Hum Bakers.

About Margo Staten

Margo Staten is a Ukrainian born, raised in Brooklyn, organically driven, coffee loving, twice-divorced mother of one baby Einstein. Has a passion for books, yoga in the park and all things 80’s and New Orleans.

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