Be a Good Neighbor with Proper Christmas Light Etiquette

Good news: It's now OK to start putting up your holiday decorations. Both etiquette experts and your neighbors agree that the day after Thanksgiving (also known as Black Friday and "Blow Your Paycheck Day") is the first day that the sight of holiday lights doesn't throw them into an "OMG-it's-not-Christmas-yet" tizzy. But do you know when to take them down? We've got the answer, plus a few other holiday light etiquette tips, when you read more.
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The holidays bring out the best—and worst—in people. Play nice with the neighbors and maintain good holiday light etiquette. Here's a few tips from us, but if you have any to add, let us know in the comments!
  • Holiday lights are OK to go up the day after Thanksgiving. You can take them down anytime after New Year's Day, but before January 6th—that's Three Kings Day and the last of the 12 days of Christmas. Even if your lights celebrate a different faith this holiday season, the Black-Friday-to-Three-Kings-Day window is still a great guideline.
  • Be aware of your neighbors' floor plan. Does their bedroom window back up to the side of your house? If so, it might be in good taste to not put lights up there. If you're not sure, don't hesitate to ask your neighbors about the lights disturbing them. You'll both be glad to avoid a "Deck the Halls" moment.
  • It's OK to keep the lights on all night, as long as you're not disturbing any neighbors. But to save power, consider putting your lights on a timer.
  • Blow-up decorations are always fun for kids, but be careful where you place them in your yard. Take care not to black anyone's visibility of the road or their driveway.
  • If your neighbors are the ones guilty of poor holiday light etiquette, approach with caution. You don't want to Grinch on their Christmas display, but if their lights are keeping you from sleep, it's OK to say something. Be polite and offer a compromise, such as a turn-off time for the lights.
  • ...but if their lights aren't affecting your sleep or safety, keep your mouth shut. Their pink-and-teal Santa-in-the-tropics display certainly brings down the neighborhood aesthetic, but it's probably making that homeowner—and any light-cruising passerby—really happy.


(Images: Flickr user sneakerdog under license from Creative Commons, Flickr user Malingering under license from Creative Commons)



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Taryn is a writer, maker, and designer based in Atlanta, and editor of lifestyle blog Formal Fringe. She loves her fiance, her dog Bacon, and collecting beer koozies when she travels.

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