Many of you have seen this promo before. It was a 2001 attempt by my TV station to videotape a Christmas and New Year’s greeting. As I recall we did more than a hundred takes and my Irish Setter puppy just wouldn’t cooperate. So I was blown away when our promotion team figured out a way to stitch together a promo that actually worked. I was exhausted. Here it is:
Want to know how to crash an entire neighborhood’s property values? Just tell homeowners that absolutely no Christmas lights or decorations are allowed, even inside the windows of a home. Violators will be fined. Then spread the word to all Realtors who might want to list property in that area. Bam! Your home is worth tens of thousands of dollars less.
Muirfield Village Homeowners Association. Mesa, Arizona.
Yep. The board has been threatening action against any fool who puts up Christmas decorations. Most of them have been taken down. We’re not talking Dickens’ Scrooge or Suess’s Grinch, here. We’re talking about board members whose collective brain capacity is that of a pet rock. I take it back. A pet rock is probably a little smarter.
Christmas. What a wonderful holiday. I love it as much as I love Hanukkah and the Seder and all the other religious holidays. In fact, I love any religious person’s special days. It’s just what we do in America.
But why, oh why, are Homeowners Associations coming down so hard on holiday lights? I get it that some light displays are over the top. I get it that gorgeous light displays bring more traffic into a neighborhood. But the greater spirit I see during the holidays satisfies an inner part of my soul. Homeowners Associations, as far as I know, are the only entity in America where expressing your religious beliefs is verboten.
I actually do drive around Colorado neighborhoods in December looking for great light displays. It was always one of my family’s most favorite and most memorable Christmas activities.
In Westfield, Indiana another dynamic light display will be shut down this year. The Hamilton County homeowner says despite raising more than 20,000 dollars for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, he’s tired of the threats of legal action by the Village Farms Homeowners Association.
The word ‘Christmas’ must be anathema to some people. In fact, any word containing the letters that spell C-h-r-i-s-t makes people spit nails. Oh, they’ll use the word, but only while slinging cuss words around.
In Arizona, Roger Walklin of the Velda Rose Estates Homeowners Association, says a bunch of little old ladies who stitch Christmas stockings each year in the clubhouse are no longer allowed.
“You’re a religious group,” he said. “It’s against the covenants to allow religious groups in.”
Each year, Ferne Skidmore and her friends stitch about 3000 Christmas stockings, stuff them with goodies and hand them out to less fortunate kids.