How Long Should I Wait Before Complaining About My Neighbor’s Christmas Lights?!

by Fern on December 23, 2009

in Inspiration,Outdoor Decor,Winter Gardening

Post image for How Long Should I Wait Before Complaining About My Neighbor’s Christmas Lights?!

Photo by Jenny Peterson

The condo association in charge of our new place has all sorts of rules, most of which I see my neighbors breaking left and right. For example, you’re not supposed to hang any planters on the railings of the balcony, but I have seen at least two people doing just that. And one of the balconies violating the rules has dead plants in the planter, so it doesn’t even look very nice. All of this talk of rules got me thinking about the ettiquette of Christmas lights. I’m Jewish and I’ve never put up Christmas lights, but I was wondering, when should I start complaining to the condo association about my neighbors?

Just kidding. I hate HOA’s and won’t be complaining. I’d rather have neighbors doing tacky things than feel like I live in a police state. To help get you in the holiday mood, check out these beautifully decorated balconies that people submitted to the Life on the Balcony Flickr group:


Photo by Monica Milla

This photo is of Robert Frost’s house in Michigan. It looks like Santa left his sleigh on the balcony. Love the swags of greenery. Classic and classy.


Photo by alles-schlumpf

I loved the creativity behind this photo, titled ‘I Shot Santa Clause.’ The balcony owners placed all the lights and Santa Clauses climbing up the ladders, but the photographer added the black shooting guide (not sure what that is called exactly?).


Photo by Thomas Hawk

Balconies on one of San Francisco’s infamously hilly streets.

And these two photos are of my neighbor’s balconies, which are really pretty nice and tasteful, all things considered:



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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Bob December 23, 2009 at 7:53 am

you should complain when you are directly negatively affected by the lights. for example: the lights are so bright that no amount of curtains could stop them from shining directly in your face while you sleep.


Bob December 23, 2009 at 7:54 am

oops, but I did forget to mention, that you should always try to be considerate and speak with the offending neighbor first.


Jen December 23, 2009 at 3:33 pm

Oh, I’m so relieved that you’re not really mad at your neighbor! My aunt lives in a development where the HOA only allows decorations to go up after Dec. 1. If you put it up right after Thanksgiving, you’re asked to take it down!


Jen December 23, 2009 at 4:42 pm

Oh, I say just go out and fertilize with fish fertilizer. That will show em.

Best of the season to you.



Elaine December 23, 2009 at 10:35 pm

LOL. I’ve been following your blog long enough to have known you were kidding even before I finished reading the first paragraph. I love the spirit behind Holiday lights, too, even if I don’t share the decorator’s taste in colour and flash. My preference is for white, non-blinking, LED lights.

My condo’s rules specify lights must be removed by January 15th, which seems reasonable to me.


melanie watts December 24, 2009 at 8:05 am

I love holiday lights. I love driving around suburbia looking at them. Where I live people add to their light collection every year so their displays are enormous. The days are so short it is nice to have all this light sparkling in the snow and cold.


Jenny Peterson December 26, 2009 at 10:02 am

That pic of the lights on the balcony that I sent you above is of an apartment right at the entrance to my complex, so it’s visible from the main street and I see it every time I drive through the gate. They went up the 1st week of Dec. and will probably be down next week or so, but it’s been fun to see it for a few weeks!


Cool Garden Things December 29, 2009 at 10:21 am

I have witnessed too many bad neighbor feuds over the years to not chime in on this. I think it is best to go to your association to complain. Do not confront people directly…it just engenders bad feelings.
GartenGrl at Planning Plants to Plant


Fern December 29, 2009 at 10:10 pm

I think I need to chime in and point out that I said in the post that I am not going to complain about my neighbors’ lights. I was joking! What my neighbors do in their own condos or on their own balconies doesn’t bother me. Plus, if it did, I would talk to my neighbor directly, I wouldn’t tattle to the HOA.

Cool Garden Things December 30, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Oops, sorry! I should have read more closely-I kind of jumped to my immediate thought on that! One of my friends get’s all bent out of shape if people put too many Santa’s on their lawn…


Fern January 1, 2010 at 11:28 pm

No worries GartenGrl! :-)


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