My dad would have loved it if our HOA had banned Christmas lights. You would think a painting contractor wouldn’t hate climbing up a ladder so much, but he grumbled about those lights every year. We didn’t live in a neighborhood where anyone went overboard with holiday lights, in fact, I think the neighbors could have put a little more effort in their decorating. Our nextdoor neighbor also used to leave their lights up for months following the beginning of the new year, and it never seemed to be much issue. However, they in general didn’t follow the HOA’s rules.
I haven’t lived within an HOA since I graduated from high school, unless you count college dorms; talk about being strict with Christmas lights. It seems unlikely that I would have known what was going on with my neighbors and the HOA, but we were a close knit neighborhood, and I was sort of a little adult and rather nosey. When my mom talked with other neighbors about neighborhood happenings, I was usually taking it all in. I never remember hearing about anyone getting fined or hiring lawyers, for anything.
I have to wonder if these very strict rules, especially around something as beloved as holiday lights comes from a broader change in neighborhoods and HOA culture.
I’ve compiled a few stories of HOA members who’ve had conflict over lights.
This man in San Diego, California was told he would be fined $100 a day for a strand of lights on his patio. The reason being it was a modification to his condo.
Here is another story about a Condo community in Mesa, Arizona.
Based on just these two stories, maybe there are more issues in Condo associations, with the argument that the outside of the home isn’t technically the owner’s property.
Our friends at hoaleader.com have an article telling associations to not be a scrooge about the Christmas lights.
Our history of pop culture shows that it’s never been popular to be a person that is grumpy or steals joy around the December holiday season: there is Scrooge, the Grinch, the Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Will Farrell’s dad in Elf. It’s not a coincidence that every holiday movie has someone who hates Christmas, and they aren’t the well-liked character.