The Tree Balls Are Up!

The neighborhood where I live, Sunset Hills, in Greensboro, North Carolina, has a unique and unusual Christmas tradition. A few weeks before Christmas, the balls start going up in the trees. Beautiful colored balls made from chicken wire shaped into a sphere and wrapped with a couple of strings of Christmas lights are mounted high in the hundreds of giant old oaks, huge maples, and any other trees large enough to hold them.

The result is magical. The cords disappear in the darkness, leaving hundreds of balls of light appearing to float high in the air. It’s incredibly hard to get a decent photograph but this year I did manage to get this one, looking down the street on a cloudy, rainy night. It doesn’t capture the colors or the impact of all those lights.

The tradition started about twenty years ago when a college student came up with the idea of creating the ball and hanging it in a tree. It has spread all through the area since then and even migrated to other places. My neighbors have take a further step and use the magnificent display to collect food for homeless shelters. I’m proud to live in this wonderful area.

The only downside is the traffic the display generates. The closer we get to Christmas the more balls go up and the more traffic thickens in the neighborhood. Our somewhat narrow, usually quiet streets fill up with slow-moving vehicles full of tourists coming to gawk at the display.


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