Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Greensboro, America Loves Your Balls


There’s a particular outdoor Christmas decoration that began here in my resident city of Greensboro, NC that now shows up in holiday displays across the country and other parts of the world. Yes, a lot of people just love Greensboro’s balls.


Specifically our lighted Christmas balls which Jonathan Smith and his family began making 18 years ago in Greensboro. It’s a homemade concoction of wire mesh and Christmas lights. I’m sure there may be some pre-fab balls you can grab off a shelf at Home Depot or Pier 1 but for do-it-yourself people who also love Christmas, they prefer to handle their own balls.


The key to making a lighted Christmas ball is to properly bending wire mesh into balls. Don’t be shy. Get in there and give those balls a good squeeze to mold and shape the wire mesh. Of course, the ideal is to create nice, smooth, round balls but don’t be embarrassed if your balls are slightly misshapen.  


When adding lights to the wire mesh, thread the lights carefully through the holes in the wire mesh. Proceed carefully as your fingers gently move over the surface of your balls. As you see the lights circling through the wire mesh, watch your balls become filled with light. Careful now, your balls may be warm to the touch.


Go nuts with the lights! Red, yellow, green or white or even combinations of colors, it’s limited only by your imagination. A favorite color for lighted Christmas balls that I see frequently around town is blue. Yes, there’s nothing like the pleasure of seeing blue balls at Christmas.


Hey, it’s time for people to see your balls. So now you need to determine: where will your balls hang? Mostly commonly, lighted Christmas balls are suspended from trees although you may elect to hang some of your balls in a large bush. Wherever you hang your balls, be sure they are very securely held in place. It’s important for your balls to be well hung.


If you have the space, spread your balls all around your yard. Don’t bunch them close together. No one wants to see your balls being squeezed.  


Well, that’s that for now. Whether you buy them or make them, I hope your balls provide you with lots of pleasure this holiday season. From the birthplace of the lighted Christmas ball, thank you for enjoying our balls.  



When Dark Crosses Light

It is a disheartening thing when the darkness of tragedy crosses with the light of our entertainment ephemera. I was thinking about ...