Every homeowners association member knows that there's no foolproof way to please every homeowner when it comes to holiday decorations. However, that doesn't mean that you can’t try. Here are a few of IKO Community Management’s top tips to handling decorations in your community:
- Consider revising the HOA rules. While it's important to keep up the aesthetically pleasing aspect of your community, it's equally as important to keep your neighbors happy. Find out what everyone likes and dislikes, then ask about a common decoration or theme. Based on the responses, compromise and adopt new rules to reflect the community preferences and concerns.
- Decorate common areas appropriately. If you decide to decorate the community center, gym, or any other common area, make sure that you respect all celebrations. Every homeowner in the community has different family traditions and religious beliefs, so it's vital that the neighborhood mirror a unified celebration.
Pro Tip: Our best advice is to stick with generic themes, like “seasons greetings,” and “happy holidays.” Silver and gold lights, jingle bells, candles, fake presents, and other universal decorations work well to deck the halls without ruffling feathers.
- Remind homeowners of the rules. Everyone has a to-do list for the holidays, and certain odds and ends might be forgotten amidst the holiday rush. To keep everything in check, e-mail or send a letter to your homeowners with a detailed list of decorating regulations and frequently asked questions.
Pro Tip: Include a phone number at the bottom of the message, so homeowners can have a point of contact for questions and concerns. You can also include seasons greetings to keep the message light.
- Keep everyone safe. The holiday season is a time for yard inflatables, strings of outdoor colored lights, window displays of fake candles, and more. While all of this decoration may look stunning, don't hesitate to cite a safety hazard if you see one. Most homeowners will understand if something is dangerous or poses a risk for others.
- Set a timeline. Some HOA boards might prefer to set dates for the lifetime of holiday decorations to regulate things. For instance, winter décor can be erected no sooner than the first weekend after Thanksgiving and must be taken down by the first Sunday of February. Decoration deadlines give homeowners a heads up, so the neighborhood can avoid looking like Christmas in July.
- Avoid dangerous ground. Many homeowners are sensitive about religious displays and themes because of the multitude of cultures in most communities. For example, it would be hard for an HOA board to set a neighborhood-wide color scheme of red, white, and green, as those are commercialized as Christmas colors. However, blue and gold are typically symbolic of Hanukkah, while red, green, and black are affiliated with Kwanzaa.
With so many cultures to account for, you will want to include everyone. Set rules without affiliation, so everyone can express themselves through decorations.
- Set your personal preferences aside. HOA boards shouldn't put rules in place based on what its members believe is tacky and tasteful. If you belong to your community’s board, don't put a ban on yard inflatables or mailbox wreaths because you’re not a fan.
While peace on earth is a little hard to achieve, peace in your community can be easily attainable if you take these few holiday tips from IKO Community Management. Remember: It is important to set an unbiased policy, and enforce the rules with fairness Find more information on how to tackle the holiday season in our latest guide:From all of us at IKO Community Management, happy decorating!