Whether you are still suffering from a holiday hangover, or are eager to jump into the start of a new year (2022, please…please…be good to us?), the fact remains that the holly, jolly season is coming to a close.  And, like all good things, the elaborate holiday display that you painstakingly planned, risked life and limb to construct, and meticulously maintained for the past few weeks, must also come to an end.  

Holiday Lights Basics and Benefits

Whether it be to warm the hearts of all those who pass by, or to one-up your neighbor (all in the name of fun, right?), holiday displays can have a positive impact on the neighborhood as a whole.

Does your Ginchy heart begin to grow, even just a bit, when you see those lights start to twinkle?  Well, you’re not alone.  Experts suggest that holiday lights and displays actually have a positive impact on your mood and psychology.  For many, this festive fanfare can hit us right in the part of the brain where all of our most treasured holiday memories are stored, reminding us of happy Hanukkahs, merry Christmases and jubilant solstices of yesteryear.  Given that this is the case, having a neighborhood full of these nostalgic catalysts can elevate the collective mood of the community, and create a sense of connection among all those who reside there.

In addition to the warm fuzzies that holiday displays can evoke, there are some other, more practical benefits to lighting up the neighborhood.  Well-done displays and thoughtful decorations can increase the value of a community by displaying a sense of pride of ownership, making the neighborhood appear to be a desirable place to live, which, in turn, attracts more potential buyers, adding to the values of the homes within.  

*Typical* Guidelines

Like any ordinance, specifics will vary from association to association.  That being said, there are some fairly typical parameters that can be found in the documents of the HOA.  In many cases, associations encourage holiday displays to be put up no sooner than a few weeks before a given holiday, and have them taken down no longer than a few weeks after the day has passed.  So what does this mean?  Well, if you are living within one of these neighborhoods, you can look forward to enjoying six to eight weeks of twinkling, shining, electricity-consuming cheer.  

Why Must the Fun End?

So why can’t the fun last forever.  If “decking the halls” is good for both the soul and the bottom line, why not just leave them up year round, right?  Just as displays can increase the value of your neighborhood by showing the care and efforts that residents put into their homes, unfortunately, the converse is also true.  Lights and displays left up for weeks and weeks communicate a sense of disregard for property and community. This can have a negative effect on home values, something that the HOA is none too keen on.  

What Can the HOA Do?

Around this time of year, you are unlikely to be able to pursue any news site without encountering a story about a disgruntled homeowner, unhappy with the policies of the association.  Often, the HOA is portrayed as the villain, bent on ruining the joy of the well-meaning, holiday enthusiast.  So how can we minimize conflict, whilst maximizing holiday hoopla?  Knowledge is power.  In the vast majority of cases, if residents are presented with the logical and practical reasoning behind the decisions of the HOA, they are more than happy to oblige.  Much of the conflict that is encountered in situations like these stem from a misunderstanding of policy or intention.  

Consider relaying the information through social media pages and community newsletters.  Be open to questions and provide honest and timely responses to any homeowner who feels as though they need a bit more information.