Monday, January 9, 2012

HOME DESIGN: Holiday Decorations Must Come Down … But When?

Now it’s time to take down your holiday decorations. Or is it? At what point in January do holiday lights go from being festive to tacky?

While there are no local laws that tell people when to remove yard decorations, some say the matter is more one of etiquette, courtesy, and even good taste.
Sharon Parker owns a Chesapeake-based business and nonprofit that offers etiquette lessons to adults and children.

She said it’s customary for some people to take down their decorations either the day after New Year’s Day or by Jan. 6, known as Epiphany. Epiphany is the Christian holiday that celebrates the arrival of the wise men to see Jesus. “This is not something you find in etiquette books,” Parker said. “People tend to go with traditions they’ve made for themselves.”

The Downtown Norfolk Council hangs garland and bows on light poles and places wreaths on mermaids in the downtown area during holidays. Mary Miller, a council spokeswoman, said they come down as soon as possible the week after New Year’s Eve because it’s the end of the holiday season and that also aligns with the organization’s six-week “Holidays in the City” marketing campaign. “For us, it’s linked to how we’re trying to market downtown for the holidays,” she said. Miller also added that military families might put up or take down decorations earlier or later than usual because of deployments. “I think here, being a military
town, you find families who are either celebrating early or late, depending on whether or not their families have left town,” Miller said. “Everyone is trying to have their piece of the holidays.”
Marc Davis, a spokesman for the city of Virginia Beach, said the Beach has no laws or rules governing holiday decorations.

“It’s possible that some private home owners associations or condo associations have their own rules,” Davis wrote in an email. “But those aren’t enforced by the city.” Bill Holtz is president of the Green Run Homes Association’s Board of Directors, which oversees the city’s largest neighborhood. Holtz said the organization used to pass out a booklet telling home owners their decorations should come down by the end of January.

Right now, though, Green Run officials don’t have any enforcement, he said. “I think it’s tacky if you see lights up past the end of January,” Holtz added.

Joe Yurso, president of the Virginia Beach Council of Civic Organizations, said there is nothing in that group’s bylaws telling residents when to remove the winter wonderland scenes from their yards. Yurso said he can’t recall a time when a member or resident asked him about the matter. He’s received more questions about neighbors having too many holiday decorations in their yards. “It’s a personal thing,” Yurso said. “I don’t think it should be an ordinance issue.”

Susanna Theo, who services Hampton Roads with her Northern Virginia-based business Protocol and Etiquette Services, said she’s given lectures on the topic. Theo said that some people might have a hard time taking decorations down in a timely manner. If that’s the case, they should ask for help. Neighbors should keep one another in mind when determining when to take decorations down, she added.

“Be mindful of what you do so you won’t be offensive to anyone.”

Jennifer Jiggetts
Read more:

No comments: