Random 3 for January 8, 2023 – Decorations, traditions, neighbors

Short news week!

Back to normal – Most of the Christmas decorations are down and put away. We left the mantle decorated because it looks nice. We did another major cleanout, getting rid of decorations we didn’t use. We had donated a load before Christmas. These were less desirable decorations. And ribbon! Lots of ribbon and wrapping supplies. We don’t wrap gifts anymore. It either goes in a bag or it’s in an envelope! I kept very minimal supplies just in case which I’m sure we won’t use and I’ll toss next year.

Cards – Last year at Christmas we were in the midst of our kitchen project. The house was in disarray. We didn’t have any Christmas stuff out, nor did we send cards. That resulted in slim pickings for this year. I am seriously thinking about stopping the tradition except for a very few people who live a distance. When I was a child, we displayed them on our staircase. My parents would get close to a hundred cards. People just don’t send them anymore. I get a few that are picture cards with pets or children and I enjoy those. Kids especially grow so much from Christmas to Christmas.

Coincidence or has the problem been solved? – During the summer I wrote about new neighbors in back of us who have strobe-like flashing lights in their windows from dusk to dawn. Lots of them. It looks like a carnival came to town. Very annoying. The residents don’t live here full time, so it’s been an on-again, off-again issue. In December the neighbors went into revolt. Not only were the flashy lights in full drive but they reflected the most bizarre Christmas colors from a tree inside the house. (No fuchsia and teal flashing lights are no more soothing than white ones.) The beloved husband made a video so the HOA could see the bright strobe effect from our yard. The new neighbors were away all week coming back on Saturday. At first the flashing lights were on full, then the flashy thing was off and it was just solid lights (which is bad enough). Then they went off too and only their inside tree was lit. Was a letter sent? Did they get the message? The HOA board meets next week although my video has had hits that indicate the board members have seen it. We will all have to stay tuned to see if it was resolved or just a fluke.

So how was your week?

61 thoughts on “Random 3 for January 8, 2023 – Decorations, traditions, neighbors

  1. I had forgotten about the strobe light neighbors, Kate. I cannot imagine what kind of a person thinks it’s permissible to force light pollution of this magnitude on the neighbors. I hope you’ll update us with what the HOA board has to say about this! I feel for you. I’d hate it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Other than something on the door I don’t decorate for holidays anymore. Your holiday mantle is beautiful. My mother said it was bad luck to have holiday decorations after the holiday, so everything was put away on New Year’s Eve.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your mantle is lovely. I didn’t send out cards this year either. I always sent them out but in the last few years, no one ever sent me one, so I decided to stop, too. I like the tradition, but it seems pointless if I’m the only one participating. Oh, well. Society seems to be getting less and less personal these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s seems to be a tradition for older people who are more homebound. One of my friends sends a delightful newsletter each year on what she’s been up to. It’s fun and newsy. She sends it by email and I enjoy it as much as anything sent by mail. It also allows me to store it in a file to reread.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your mantle looks lovely, and is probably cat-proof? I remember my parents getting a lot of cards too – when I was small they were strung around the dining room but later they had a circular card holder and I used to enjoy looking at them when I came home, including from some US relatives I had never met. Now I get maybe 3 or 4 cards, and don’t send any. One of my friends sprinkles glitter inside the card, maybe every 2nd year, as a joke and I would usually open it up in the car and there would be glitter everywhere – but I’ve wiser now and open it outside! Keep us posed on the saga of the lights!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The cats don’t bother it. Only Morgan has a history of sitting on the mantle and she hasn’t bothered it. She broke a favorite vase at the last house. There isn’t any landing room. Glitter! I hate it. If I open a card and it has glitter on it, it goes right in the trash. I don’t want it spread around so my cats eat it while cleaning their fur.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. We’d always put the decorations up on the day after Thanksgiving and down New Year’s Day. I haven’t even swapped out Maryanne’s hats yet. Your mantle is very festive. The fireplace here is electric, but never plugged in. We never got that many cards, even years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We didn’t put up indoor decorations until the weekend before Christmas and the tree on Christmas eve day. The outdoor lights would go up on a mild day after Thanksgiving. For Christmas my mom had a cardboard fireplace to hang stockings.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t think growing up we put up our decorations that early either. I remember the cardboard fireplaces – they were red and very realistic. This fireplace has never been plugged in because the room is small and like every other room, an electrician needs to come and put in more plugs.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Your mantle does look lovely. We used to hang Christmas cards on ribbons. Now that just seems like one more thing to do. I still receive lots of Christmas cards, but now I just pile them up on the buffet so I can share the cutest photos with family who come to visit. I have lots of friends who live far away, a few of them abroad, so I do enjoy receiving the cards, letters, and photos. So far I’m still doing it the old-fashioned way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I always loved the cards from far away friends. My neighbor when I lived in New Jersey always did a wonderful newsletter and included a picture of the family. Sometimes they took it on vacation. They always wore white blouse/shirts with khaki pants. We weren’t all that close so after about 5 years here, she stopped sending them. That was worth getting.

      Like

  7. Your mantel is gorgeous.

    David and I never found some of the decorations we wanted, like the mobiles by nephew Chris. Next Christmas we have to start looking through all the boxes the day after Thanksgiving. I’ve put away the holiday dishes and mugs. The other things will be taken down tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m glad the light issue has been (I hope) resolved. It makes me wonder what they were thinking… or not. Many of us live in tight areas and need to be aware of our neighbors.

    I have all my Christmas decorations packed away for next year. I loved having them up, but I also like having my house back to “normal.” We (and, by “we,” I mean “I”) only decorate for fall/Halloween, and Christmas so the boxes are back in the shed for a while. I also have gotten rid of most of our wrapping paper and ribbon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We still have the tall container (remember they were so popular years ago before bags became the thing to use). Maybe I’ll put it out when our neighborhood has it’s annual garage sale in June. I don’t really decorate for much else but I have some bunnies for Easter/spring. Then it’s back to my “normal” stuff.

      Like

  9. I am betting, and hoping, the craziness with the lights is done. Especially since you feel that the board members have seen it. We are very happy to have an effective HOA and the HOA was a big reason we wanted to live in our neighborhood here. After years of having the crazy drug user neighbor point highway night work lights at the east side of the Tiny Ten house which was where our bedroom, kitchen and living room were located, we wanted to have a strong HOA to stop crap like that. We were out in the country where it was like the wild west and the sheriff’s dept was not interested in any way to take care of that situation or any other ridiculous stuff that went on outside the city limits. He pointed the same lights at our good neighbors across the road. I know how disturbing light related issues can be and I hope the situation has been dealt with for you and your other neighbors.
    Your mantel is beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. We stopped the Christmas lights some years back. It seems an unnecessary reason to burn more coal (the way they generate electricity here). And it also seems like an unnecessary expense. Our Christmas decorations are minimal; it just doesn’t seem worth the effort. I guess we’re the bah-humbugers about the commercialization of the holidays. We celebrate Christmas, but much more low-key. As for the strobe light? OMG They could cause someone a migraine and/or a seizure. I hope your plea to the HOA is effective. I sounds like it has been, temporarily at least. Perhaps some neighbors talked to them as well. They clearly don’t understand about being neighborly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • People who have never experienced light-related issues don’t understand how it can trigger migraines, seizures and issues for people on the spectrum. I’m not sure if this was a fluke and the HOA has yet to contact them but they usually leave either today or early tomorrow morning. We are a lot more low key with decorations than we used to be. If it were up to me, I’d forego the tree although it’s permanently decorated, skinny and short so not as much trouble as the old one. We did a few lights on the front door decorations. Our neighborhood isn’t big on decorations. Too many older folks that would have to get “people” to pay to do it.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. All our decorations are down but if I had your mantle I’d keep it up for a long time. It’s beautiful. We got a few cards this year and they were kind of pathetic. Not the stylish warm Christmas cards I remember from my youth. They were so pretty, these less so.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Hi, Kate – Your mantel looks gorgeous!
    We put our decorations up VERY early this year – so we took everything down by January 1 and it is all now packed away. I do miss the soft lights from our outoor tree. They made our living room extra cozy and relaxing.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. My decorations are all put away, and I donate some each year to bring the number down. I sent some cards and received some but not like the old days. We use to put them around doorways (plural). Those lights sound majorly annoying. HOA rules are interesting. Sometimes, they really tick you off and other times they are salvation. Hope it goes in your favor.

    Liked by 2 people

    • We had to get approval before redoing our deck and they are sticklers about what you do on the outside appearance. It was annoying when I had to provide sketches and drawings but I realize that not everyone understands the importance of continuity when you live in attached houses. In the end, the HOA had only one question for me and accepted a simple answer. Our HOA is under $200/year so I’m not really complaining but they do have rules against catios which my neighbor would love to do for her ferals. (No rules on feeding critters.)

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Your mantel looks lovely, Kate. As long as my arthritis pain allow me, I’ll continue to send Christmas card. It’s one of my favorite holiday traditions. Actually, this year I received more cards than in the past two years. Every year, my mother, who has Alzheimer’s, faithfully receives a card from a woman (my age) she worked with over 30 years ago. The woman takes the time to write a brief summary of the past year. Although my mother doesn’t remember her or what I read to her, it gives her so much joy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Our HOA isn’t oppressive. Especially for the town houses, I’m been pleasantly surprised. You don’t find bright plastic swing sets (the assn has a playground) or dilapidated sheds (or any sheds). The outside colors have to be the same for a grouping but you are allowed to individualize your front door color. I visited another townhouse development in the area and I was appalled at the mishmash — chain link fences for dogs, junk stored on back porches and other unsightly things. Our group is 20 years old and still looks very nice.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I just don’t understand neighbors that don’t consider THEIR neighbors’ feelings. We have wonderful neighbors on one side and just the opposite on the other side. It’s like night and day……quiet on one side and loud diesel truck engine revving at 1AM on the other. Sigh. Maybe we should live in a cave…..although I bet we’d probably have inconsiderate bats! HAHA Your mantel looks gorgeous – no wonder you’re leaving it up – it’s definitely a “Winter Vibe”…..!

    Hugs, Pam

    Liked by 1 person

    • You can’t permanently park a large truck on your property here. My last neighborhood was quiet. A neighbor on one side was really bad with weeds (up to 4 foot!) but that was all. No HOA there.

      Like

  16. My Christmas decorations are at least 95% snow/snowman themed, so I don’t feel rushed to un-decorate. I even have enough of that theme in ornaments so that I can take the rest away and leave the tree (artificial, of course), up for much longer.

    I hope your HOA makes the psychedelic neighbors behind you aware that they are disturbing the neighbors with the abundance of lights, including the strobe ones. I’m not sure how anyone, other than a teenager, can tolerate them for more than 10 minutes!

    I sent out about a dozen cards this Christmas for the first time in years. And it happened only because, in my simplifying my life ongoing routine, I found a box that was partially full. I get two cards at Christmas from the same two families every year. I also get one e-card for all occasions, including Christmas. The tradition of sending a holiday card and/or an annual newsletter to everyone you know is mostly lost; people think it’s redundant to send one card a year to people they don’t have contact with otherwise, and I can see that point.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cards are nice but without a personal note or newsletter inside, it doesn’t tell you anything. I was glad to get the tree out mostly because we had to “squish” furniture to make it fit. It feels more spacious now. Next year I’m hoping we will have new furniture in there and it won’t look so cluttered with a tree.

      Like

  17. I gave up cards some years ago, but Marley still sends a few out. We get maybe a dozen ourselves each year, but nothing like old days, which is fine. As for the lights, I do hope your HOA will resolve that for good. Yuck!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan sends out his own cards. He is much more dedicated to it than I am. I am curious if the HOA sent a letter (which is the first step) based on my video. People can also see it from the street. I had found out that they have lights lining their driveway that flash red, white and blue, kind of like a runway. I can’t see those because our backyards back up to each other. People who live on that street have complained about them. This house was beautiful when they bought it. Based on the “colorful” lights, I wonder what they did inside.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. While I’m all in favour of festive holiday decor and tasteful light shows-tasteful being the operative word, I don’t need a laser show all hours of the night. Ugh, how inconsiderate. A new set of neighbors decorated their house and it was semi-bright. I have wood blinds in my bedroom and it’s funny how outdoor lights manage to shine through the holes that hold the slats together. Here’s hoping the HOA can quickly resolve this issue.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This neighborhood is mostly old folks who downsized. These people are retired so they are not young. They are attached to a young couple who put lights around their front door and shrubs. Very tasteful. No strobing. I don’t know why they keep them on all night. They turn them off sometime between 8 and 10 a.m.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I hope that the strobe lights are gone for good.

    We put all the Christmas stuff away except for the table top tree. It’ll get gone this week. We send a few cards and receive a few cards but nothing like 40 years ago.

    Change. It’s constant.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Light pollution is real, and really annoying. I’m glad you were able to get it to stop. We don’t have an HOA to deal with it, and the city doesn’t care. In fact, the middle school across the street got a new, light up marquee sign that sometimes goes full on Vegas with strobing red messages. Even better, the cop next door has massive flood lights. And he leaves them on all night. All our bedroom windows have blackout curtains, but the light still sneaks through. Terrible for the environment and the wildlife.

    Liked by 2 people

Don't be shy, I'd love to hear what you're thinking!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s