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Subject: Christmas Decorations
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Author Messages
NathanW


Posts:0


12/13/2010 5:17 PM  
Does anybody live in a community that requires owners to decorate exclusive areas? Or in a community that spends mandatory assessments on holiday decorations in common areas? I'm interested in your take on such requirements.

I'm researching an article on the enforceability of these type of provisions. Examples of the pertinent covenant language would be helpful if you live in such a community.

Thanks!
DonnaS
(Tennessee)

Posts:5671


12/16/2010 11:06 AM  

Nathan,

Probably your Budget has a line item for the decorations. In the CC&R's? Probably not. So you need to address this concern with the Board or Financial committee or whomever writes the Budget. The members need to voice their opinions on whether they want to pay for decorations.

There will always be arguments on decorating or not to decorate common areas. All that I can say is "Good Luck On This One" Getting religeon involved in HOA business is a very bad idea but it happens everywhere this time of the year
LawrenceC1
(Georgia)

Posts:480


01/22/2011 11:55 AM  
Since our HOA was established we have put up decorations on our entrance and at our pool house around Christmas time. These are all common areas and the decorations are put up by volunteers, but endorsed and paid for by the HOA. The decorations are benign garlands, bows, and lights. Usually the time that the decorations are up includes Christmas and Hanukkah, so they can be spun as recognizing both Christian and Jewish traditions.

This past year, Hanukkah arrived early and the decorations were put up only after it was all over. It was then clear that our decorations are more about Christmas than any other tradition. Several Jewish families expressed their feeling of exclusion to the Board.

We had a motion at our annual meeting to add to the decorations to include a Menorah or Dreidel during Hanukkah. The motion caused a stir, and was soundly defeated.

One reason stated for opposing the motion was that we have Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, and possibly other traditions represented among our homeowners and opening the decorations up to any specific religion would open a floodgate where we would never be able to satisfy everyone.

What do other HOAs do about decorations during the "holiday" season?
RobW
(California)

Posts:279


01/23/2011 12:50 AM  
People in my HOA can decorate their exclusive-use wooden deck railings with lights, as long as they don't penetrate the wood with fasteners. That's it. No decorating of common areas to celebrate any religious (or even secular) holiday. As a result, we have never had a controversy about it in over 35 years.


Rob
HeatherB4
(Florida)

Posts:51


01/23/2011 6:43 AM  
That seems sad to me.

A few homeowners that are "offened" always ruin it for everyone.

Call your "Christmas decorations" "seasonal decorations"

In the winter season, you have hollys and evergreens, thats the reason you decorate with such. As a matter of fact, decorating a evergreen tree inside your house dates back to the winter pagan hoilday, not the celebration of Christ birth.

If you make your hoilday decorations very "seasonal" and not "christian" you should be fine. I am sure your HOA didn't put up a big cross or a Nativity scene. If they did that might be a problem.

Our HOA puts up a few wreaths at the gate, lights, and some evergreen around the clubhouse. None of which, is "Christian" in nature. It's "seasonal" in nature.

I sure if your HOA, or any HOA decided to make sure every religion is represented during the month of Dec, you would have to have a special assesment added to your cost, and then you would have someone argue they are atheist, and want nothing up.

I would let your neighbors know that "seasonal" decorations go up Dec 1st. And leave it at that.

LawrenceC1
(Georgia)

Posts:480


01/23/2011 7:10 AM  
Heather,

Thank you for your post. It's good to hear how other HOAs deal with this.

How do you determine that December 1 is the date to put up decorations? Muslim Eid will be at the end of August and Hindu Diwali will be at the end of October in 2011. Buddah's birthday will be May 10. Seasonal depends on your perspective.

I don't think that our non-Christian homeowners are offended -- they simply feel left out. And maybe a little annoyed that a part of their dues are going to fund a celebration in which they have no part.

At our annual meeting the range of traditions in our community is not fairly represented, and past votes on the matter have endorsed "holiday" decorations around Christmas. I am thinking that it may be the obligation of the board to step in to ensure that all homeowners are included in any HOA sponsored activity.
HeatherB4
(Florida)

Posts:51


01/23/2011 9:40 AM  
During the fall months, Oct 1st- Dec 1st, we put up fall decorations. Pumkins, dried corn stalks, wreaths that have fall looking leaves, and so on. In the spring,March 1st- May 1st, we put up wreaths and decorations with bringhtly colored flowers. During the month of Dec, we again put up the dec SEASON decorations.

The decorations are meant to be "seasonal" without any reference to any religion or lack of one.

In a particular "season," just decorate according to what that season holds as far as what your surroundings are around you. AND explain this to the members of the HOA.

What we do in our community is have a set "season" decorations. if someone feels they are being excluded, we tell them they can add to the decorations (with of course, with BOD oversight) but they have to pay, and but the decorations up themselves.

Once saying that, we have never had a member want to include their personal touches.

AGAIN... WE DO NOT DECORATE FOR A HOILDAY, WE DECORATE FOR THE SEASON.
JerryM5
(Rhode Island)

Posts:5


12/14/2011 1:52 AM  
Posted By HeatherB4 on 01/23/2011 9:40 AM
During the fall months, Oct 1st- Dec 1st, we put up fall decorations. Pumkins, dried corn stalks, wreaths that have fall looking leaves, and so on. In the spring,March 1st- May 1st, we put up wreaths and decorations with bringhtly colored flowers. During the month of Dec, we again put up the dec SEASON decorations.

The decorations are meant to be "seasonal" without any reference to any religion or lack of one.

In a particular "season," just decorate according to what that season holds as far as what your surroundings are around you. AND explain this to the members of the HOA.

What we do in our community is have a set "season" decorations. if someone feels they are being excluded, we tell them they can add to the decorations (with of course, with BOD oversight) but they have to pay, and but the decorations up themselves.

Once saying that, we have never had a member want to include their personal touches.

AGAIN... WE DO NOT DECORATE FOR A HOILDAY, WE DECORATE FOR THE SEASON.




I totally agree to that. I also decorate for the season. In spring and summer I always have fresh flowers with bright colors in my flat. In these two seasons I often use delivered flowers in order to always have fresh flowers at home. In fall I also use pumpkins, leaves and wreaths with warm colors for decoration. Now I also have Christmas decoration all over my flat and I love it.
JonD1


Posts:0


12/14/2011 2:47 PM  
To me it is both sad and annoying that the world we live in today causes the topic of X-Mas, holiday, or whatever you wish to call it decorations and how to handle this.

I was raised a Catholic as a kid. I gave that up many years ago. This is not a religious holiday for me. It is Christmas and concerns the guy in the red suit that kids get excited about.

I have been Board President for 8 years. About 5 years ago I decided the property needed some HOLIDAY spirit.

I purchased some inexpensive holiday lights, and some music playing trees. They play just holiday music, I paid extra for that feature! No religious songs of any denomination.

Some on the Board anticipated court cases reaching the Supreme Court.
I was willing to take my chances.

We have yet to recieve ONE negative comment, complaint or request for some form of equal holiday representation.

What I have seen, is a steady stream of cars applying their brakes as they drive through the property to take a minute to look.

I have seen small children with their parents walking over to look at the lights and trying to figure out where the music comes from.

I have had senior residents asking when and if the lights were going up this year. They always seem to how some doubts.

I have heard repeated compliments from those visiting the property just how much this small effort adds to the property and the season.

You can call it whatever you wish. You can look and listen or close your eyes and cover your ears. Or you can consider the possibility that the good this brings to this small part of our world is worth perhaps bending your personal rules as to what's right and correct.

The lights are on now, the music (at low level) is playing I can see the lights from my window. That's how we handle this in NY a place where things easily and commonly get blown way out of proportion. If we can find the answer here give it a try wherever you are.

And to all Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, or whatever else you might now be celebrating this time of year. In our world today IMO better to find reasons to enjoy rather than reasons to battle over.

Ho Ho Ho I hear Santa.......................................

BonnieG1
(Nebraska)

Posts:1186


12/14/2011 7:36 PM  
Our declarant is a church group. Even though we were established in 1981, to my knowledge there has never been a complaint about Christmas decorations. We have a Christmas tree in the family room, and also one of each of the other two floors. There are other Christmas decorations. This is done yearly.
KirkW1
(Texas)

Posts:1665


12/28/2011 9:10 PM  
My HOA has put up lights at the entrance to the HOA and had the lamp poles decorated since its inception. One year, two of us on the board put up the lights to save money. Since then, we decided the better way was to simply allow the HOA to be early in the decorating season. This year, the lights were up a week before Thanksgiving.

So far nobody has complained.
CarolR11


Posts:0


12/29/2011 4:18 PM  
We have no rule requiring residents to decorate their exclusive use areas--in our case balconies. About 15% place lights around the railings and may not penetrate the walls, ceilings or railings. These decorations may be in place from Thanksgiving-Jan.10.

We have 2 lobbies --one in each high rise tower. There's a fairly large artificial tree in each. We've had the trees for many years and currently have no budget for holiday decorations. Volunteers decorate them each year, with the help of our asst. engineer who uses a ladder for the higher spots. He, along with volunteers, also place lights & wreaths at our entry gates and elsewhere in the circular drive that serves both towers.

A menorah also is placed on the reception desk of each lobby.

I've been on the board for 5 years and there never have been any complaints.
DylanC
(New York)

Posts:1


12/31/2020 2:22 PM  
Thanks for the information.
MichaelS56
(Minnesota)

Posts:61


12/31/2020 4:07 PM  
Many years ago, members of the association asked who ever wants to donate money to decorate both of our entrances and each of our 13 streetlights, started the process. The Maintenance committee then puts up these decorations each year. The HOA does not pay for any of the decorations.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:4243


12/31/2020 5:32 PM  
This thread is 10 years old.
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