If you drive the blocks of Lynnwood Boulevard between Hobbs and Harding, right where Green Hills and Belle Meade converge, at night, you’ll notice almost 30 homes with these beautiful large balls of lights hanging in their yards. It’s absolutely beautiful, and in a year like this one, it just might make you tear up.
So, what’s the story behind this? Where did these come from?
Enter Wesley and Lamar Stanley, who moved to Nashville in 2014. Lamar had previously been in the Navy, so their family moved almost every two years. After 10 years of moves, they settled in Nashville, bought a house, and were finally able to establish roots and make traditions. One such tradition that they wanted to bring to Nashville was based on a Greensboro, NC, neighborhood, Sunset Hills, that is known for its balls of Christmas tree lights (it’s even been featured on “TODAY”!). Thus, in 2018, they started making balls of lights for their own yard and their neighbors’ yards, and the buzz started. Their neighbors, Patricia and Thomas King, came on board and talked up the neighborhood about what this could grow into. They were integral in selling the vision. And the beautiful vision took off!
The next year, in 2019, the Stanleys gathered neighbors to drink bloody marys and taught them how to make the large balls of light. They are made with chicken wire and are either 3-feet or 2-feet round. Neighbors could either make them or purchase each ball for $50, which includes installation, extension cords, and timers.
The feedback was incredible and touching. As we talked, Wesley spoke of a neighbor, an older woman who is a widow and had found the holidays so depressing. They made sure to hang lights in her yard, and her joyous reaction epitomized why this endeavor means so much. Wesley talked about her neighbor’s Southern drawl and shared the neighbor’s sentiments: “Wesley, these balls made my Christmas. After so long, I finally felt joy.” Another neighbor texted while we were talking and sent the following message: “The lights are so magical again this year. Keep them coming!”
For 2020, who knew that we would all need the joy of lights so badly? More than 30 homes along Lynnwood’s 500, 600 and 700 blocks will have these lights hanging from trees. And after two years, Lamar has handed down the making and hanging of the lights to his college-age cousin, Benjamin Sensing, and his friend, Sims Lance. Lamar says, “It’s pretty physically intense to get the lights hung, and my shoulders just couldn’t do another year. I’m so glad they have taken it over!”
There are other families ordering lights who don’t live on Lynnwood – they just love the idea. If you are interested, email Benjamin at [email protected], and see if they have the capacity to make some for you. Otherwise, get on the list for next year. This is still so new that it’s pretty informal and email seems to work right now. They also suggest this tutorial YouTube video if you’d like to make some for your own home.
We hope this brings you some added cheer and joy during a year filled with so much darkness. And, if you are going to Cheekwood’s Holiday LIGHTS this year, buy your tickets here, and then head there by way of Lynnwood, or drive it afterward to extend the light display and give thanks for great neighbors and little moments of joy.
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