Local student Madeline Heaner was leafing through the city newsletter last week when she came across a very interesting announcement: Holiday Yard Decorating Contest! Help make Norcross shine for the holidays!
She had recently been to a “walk-through Bethlehem” with her family so she struck on an idea that was sure to get the neighbors’ attention: She could get together her neighborhood friends and they could put on their own live nativity scene on Saturday to make a yard truly unique.
Madeline sent her dad, Stroman Heaner, an email at work telling him about her idea—then got down to work asking friends to join in and creatively repurposing stuff around their houses to create the classic manger scene. Some old sheets here, a work light there, an old toy cradle and—viola!
“People really like that the kids are doing it for themselves,” said Mr. Heaner. His wife, Linda, added that the kids really took the verses seriously, practicing in the afternoon and again after it got dark on Saturday.
The end result was four or so walk throughs of a live nativity scene in the front yard of 240 Longview Dr., complete with a spotlight shining on a group of about 10 including Mary (played by Madeline), Joseph, the shepherds—all inside of a wooden manger that the neighborhood kids helped Mr. Heaner make. They even had a lovely white angel looking down on the scene.
“I did it because I thought it would be fun and I wanted to share the story with everyone,” said Madeline after the live nativity scene wound down. She said she would definitely do it again.
Her neighbor, Alexis Cosey, agreed, but added, “I might put on a little more clothes next time.” Apparently, even lots of draped sheets don’t do the job of a nice warm jacket on a December night.
The Heaners just moved to the City of Norcross in February, so they said they were happy to get to know a few new neighbors while helping the kids create the scene.
A few straggling neighbors hung back as the kids finished up the last reading, with some marveling that kids don’t play in their neighborhoods anymore, and they don’t give parents a chance to get to know each other either. “But in this neighborhood, kids play,” chimed in one neighbor, before saying goodnight.
Editor's note: Look for an announcement of all the yard contest winners on Patch this week. And, if you've decked out your home, enter our .