We received this email today from Marietta GA.
Holiday spirit shines on Marietta’s Maple Avenue
“We took the idea for the Christmas balls from Sunset Hills in Greensboro, N.C.,” said Marietta resident Susan G. Reid, who attended graduate school at UNC Greensboro in North Carolina said.
“I had friends that lived in Sunset Hills and I saw (the balls). I thought, ‘Wouldn’t this be the perfect thing for our neighborhood in Marietta?’” she said.
Reid’s family started the tradition four years ago when she and husband Noel Rowe hoisted the first balls in their yard. “It’s been one of those things I wanted to do. We did it the first year and were the only house,” said Reid, who works as television and film agent for Atlanta Models & Talent. The couple has one daughter: Phoebe, a second-grader at Westside Elementary.
Neighbors inquired how to make the balls.
“We showed a handful of neighbors how to make them the second year,” Reid said.
Last year in early November, her neighbor, Sarah Bullington, organized a potluck where neighbors came together with materials to make the orbs.
“A lot people started jumping on board with the potluck that Sarah organized,” she said.
To make the balls, Reid said chicken wire is rolled like a tube and weaved together to form a sphere. “It doesn’t have to be a perfect circle. Once they get up in the tree, you can’t tell the round ones from the oblong ones. At night you’re just seeing the glow of them,” Reid said.
Standard Christmas lights are then used to cover the form and connected to one another, leaving a small part of the electric wire out to plug into an extension cord. Another line is attached to the ball to secure it once the orb is up in the tree.
“The tougher part is getting the lines up in the trees. That’s the reason I had to get my husband on board with this whole idea,” she said.
Potato guns made from PVC pipes are used to hoist the balls up in the trees. Neighbors typically put the balls up around Thanksgiving and light them the first Thursday in December.
“It’s hard not for Christmas to be everybody’s favorite holiday. Christmas is special on so many different levels. There’s something so magical about it. There’s something about these lights and seeing them and the layers of them in the neighborhood. It’s just magical. It brings out the best part of the holiday in all of us when you see them and have that kind of spirit through the lights. It’s brought to life,” Reid said.
Reid suggests doing a Google search on Sunset Hills, Greensboro, N.C., for a detailed tutorial on making the Christmas balls.
Marietta, GAThank you for sharing your story with us and creating a new tradition for my childhood neighborhood!Maple Avenue recently won an award from the city for the best decorated street and town thanks to your inspiration. We've been going strong for four years but for some reason, 2014 was THE year for the orbs to really multiply and dazzle. Street after street in our neighborhood is glistening with chicken wire and Christmas lights. I hope to get some better picture of some at night to send to you.
Kennesaw Avenue, Maple Avenue, Stewart Avenue