Editor’s Note: In September 2014 when my husband and I announced to friends that we had purchased a home in Port Huron’s historic Sherman Woods neighborhood, the very first question they asked was: “So will you have Christmas balls?”
Now in its fifth year, the very unofficially-official Sherman Woods Christmas Ball Light Display is surely a highlight for anyone in the Blue Water Area looking for fantastical Christmas light displays.
And yes, Virginia, we do participate with lighted Christmas balls.
Our home, with its twinkling white-lighted spheres in pots (we have no trees out front) and on bushes, is very conservative in comparison to the yards of my neighbors. And, as a witness to all five years of this lighted display, I can assure you that there are more lights this year than ever before.
The nightly parade of cars through our neighborhood — and it is a parade — begins Thanksgiving weekend. Those who came to see the lights that weekend must return because I’ve watched neighbors add lights every day well into December.
Since the Sherman Woods holiday light display began, I’ve seen lighted balls hanging from trees in other neighborhoods in Port Huron and the surrounding areas. One of my girlfriends just purchased a home in a small township neighborhood and wants to encourage her neighbors to make lighted spheres, as well. She thinks it would be a cool way to unite the neighborhood and spread holiday cheer.
While I know that our light display is the Sherman Woods association gift to all who visit the neighborhood during the holiday season, the real gift comes when a simple, festive gesture unifies a community in a positive way. It is a gift that keeps on giving.
I know this is a stretch in terms of suggesting that spheres of light are bringing peace on earth and goodwill to all, but anything that inspires people to do something for the pure joy of others is not a bad thing. In fact, it is the thing we need more of in our very troubled world today. So I encourage you to create lighted orbs…or let someone else have the coveted parking space in the crowded parking lot…or shovel your neighbor’s sidewalk. Whatever you do, do it with joy in your heart knowing it will bring joy to others. –Peace, The Editor
Five years ago when Larry Nelson made 12 spheres out of Christmas lights and chicken wire, he was afraid his neighbors in Port Huron’s historic Sherman Woods neighborhood would not be happy with his festive display.
“Well, you know, (Sherman Woods) can be kind of conservative,” he said with a chuckle. But Nelson pressed on, encouraged by his daughter, Teri, who grew up in the neighborhood but now resides in Greensboro, North Carolina where lighted holiday orbs are a long-time tradition. Teri was convinced the spheres would be a hit in Sherman Woods.
“They’ve got thousands of them up in old, old oak trees in Greensboro,” said Nelson. “It’s just amazing.”
No sooner had Nelson hung his orbs than neighbors started asking for instructions on how to make them.
“I started with 12 balls and I’m up to 105 now,” Nelson said of his own display.
It is safe to say that the neighborhood light display in Sherman Woods now has thousands of orbs, as well. Neighbors begin stringing balls and holiday lights the week before Thanksgiving and continue enhancing their personal displays well into December. Every resident in Sherman Woods is responsible for decorating his or her own property.
Nelson noted that visiting the neighborhood has become a holiday tradition for many in the Blue Water Area. “Nursing homes send their buses through, and the police department calls every year because people begin calling them and they want to know when the balls are going up.
“It’s crazy. People really do like it. It’s beautiful and it’s just fascinating.”