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* Barbara Ellestad, Publisher * ALL Content Copyright 2011-2014*
Every year around this cheerful time there is at least one lucky HOA showcased somewhere in the country for banning any and all Christmas and seasonal decorations and for general bah-humbugness. Through the media coverage, a Grinch stigma will slowly stretch all across the country inevitably being applied to ALL HOAs and every prospective homebuyer avoids even contemplating buying in an HOA because they know someone, or know someone who knows someone, that had to remove their lights and décor after a violation letter.
As I’ve covered in past articles – these things do happen. It is the exception however, and not the rule. Most governing documents will have a section that is specific to seasonal décor, usually a timeframe. For example, Christmas decorations can be put up starting Dec. 1 and must be removed by Jan. 1, or something similar.
I’ve also covered the importance of community building in your HOA. This is something I can't stress enough and the holidays are a
perfect time to start.
One way to accomplish this is to decorate as an HOA. Decorate your front entrances at least. This doesn’t have to be a huge expense. Any effort on the part of the HOA to contribute to the fun and spirit of this time of year will be appreciated by residents and passers-by. It is one of the easiest things you can do to make your community warm and welcoming.
Give residents something to look forward to, and something to talk about. Plan ahead for when you’re decorating – publish the date in a newsletter and plan a lighting ceremony. If you have some bakers in your community, plan a cookie exchange to go along with your lighting ceremony.
The traditions of a community will vary depending on the residents that make up that community. Find out who makes up yours and plan accordingly.
I want to feature some of the communities in town that have embraced this wonderful time of year in the slideshow below: Villa La Paz, Lakeridge I, LaScala, Highland Fairways, Rancho Santa Barbara, and Ventana.