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What I often wonder about is where do my rights end and yours (being my neighbor) begin?

I own a piece of property. I am supposed to have quiet enjoyment of that property..at least that's what my Deed says. I decorate at Christmas time, enough so that traffic has been an issue, lots of it..by the bus and carload. I have also voluntarily limited the size of my display, I don't use an FM transmitter and a "tune to" sign in order to discourage parking, and have taken other steps to be a good neighbor.

My "new" neighborshappen to beMuslim,they celebrate Ramadan. They have been very tolerant of our displays (both Halloween and Christmas), no complaints, in fact they put up a few strings of lights in 2006. My old neighbors of 18 years were Christian, they didn't particularly like my displays or the trafficthey generate (making comments like "we worship the right way" "you shouldn't use Santa Claus, its about Jesus" "Decorating for Halloween is evil") I smiled,bit my tongueand did my thing but I have also tried to balance my right to celebrate my religious beliefs with the belief thatmy neighbors alsohave a right to get into their driveway..365 days a year without a hassle, that they shouldn'thave to listen to "my" Christmas music, or see wires, Santa Claus, etc.hanging off my house in March, (which this year, due to the frozen conditions, I couldn't do anything aboutuntil recently).

My point is that I live in a community, a society. The predominant majority in my town are Christian but there are also many other religious groupsliving here.They pay their taxes, send their kids to school, do their thing without interference. If I were to disregard their right to get into their driveway or their right toquiet enjoyment of their homeand force my views, beliefs or habits down their throats, could I not expect and aniticpate having that done to me in the future? Would I be tolerant of them and their traditions if their traditions included having a circus tent in their front yard in the middle of summer, with a brass band?Could I easily disregard my neighbors feelings because "this is my property, I can do what I want, this is my right as an American!" Sure, but they in turn would then have the right to dissent, to disregard my feelings and care only about their own.

My comments are not directed at any onein particular, but this subject comes up fairly frequently, obviously, we have an entire forum devoted to these issues. So where do my rights end, where do theirs begin..on a property line or does it go beyond that, more to what is fair and equitable?

Myparents raised me to believe in the Golden Rule, I live by it "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Are we all doing that when it comes to our displays?

I hope thisthread can be used to discuss theseissues calmly and thoughtfully and that I haven't opened up a kettle a fish that I shouldn't have by talking about this in general, instead of using aspecific incident that can be replied to.

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I would think that your rights do not extend to your property line. For example, if there were a burning cross in your yard as part of a religious display, local authorities would be quick to shut you down regardless of your freedom of expression, or freedom to practice your religion.

When everybody near you is in somewhat of an agreement, then you are really lucky (or blessed). As we witnessed with Richard Holdman's display, some communities can exercise certain rights to essentially shut you down.

In the case of Carson, after he went global, he voluntarily shut down his display because of concerns of public safety.

And then there was the scenario when a PC member tried to work with his city in advance of his display only to be told by the city officials that he could get into serious trouble with his display.

In today's society, we are growing ever more sensitive to "feelings" of others and city governments are having to react to our sensitivities. For instance, there have been cases where neighbors sued neighbors because of the cigarette smoke that wafted onto their property line. The case I am thinking of involved a homeowner who swore she could smell cigarettes over 300 feet away when she was inside her home. She sued her neighbor.

In addition, there have been numerous cases where a Home Owners Association (HOA) has sued a property owner for the installation or display of the American flag on their own property.

If you do not live in a HOA community, or a gated community that can elect to keep their gates closed during a display season, then be thankful. And if you live in a HOA community that encourages displays, be even more thankful.

Regarding your situation. The Christian neighbor is certainly entitled to their opinion, but it does not make it right (this is a subject that many forums could fill themselves discussing). Your Islamic neighbor seems to be very tolerant. For that, you should be thankful too.

I think you are approaching this correctly by attempting to manage the public reaction to your display by voluntarily limiting the size of your display. However, if a complaint were to arise, I suspect that you could expect a legal summons if the complaint were not addressed in a quick and satisfying manner to the complainant.

We have seen how certain civil liberties organizations have successfully sued governments to keep religious displays off of public property. I think that it is only a matter of time before some governments try to shut down a display because it is either deemed offensive. My concern is that they will use the guise of "safety" to monitor the content of a display. It will be interesting to see how certain civil liberty organizations react when/if they are requested to defend these type of displays.

However, my largest concern is not that we would be shut down because of a person's religious offense, but because of environmentalism and those that consider a display a huge waste of energy. Just as private sector businesses are being attacked by environmental wackos, we ourselves may end up on the receiving end of vandalism/ecoterrorism because of our displays.

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We have a right to decorate. That right is "freedom of speech".

But "freedom of speech" has nothing to do with hosting a spectacle that causes your neighbors to wait 40 minutes to get from the thoroughfare into their driveway. Or to put up with flashing lights, blaring horns, and loud car radios unti 12am for 45 days a year.

So often, a "neighbor complaint" thread comes up, and everyone hops on the "screw 'em, you have the RIGHT to decorate" bandwagon. Even worse, it turns sinister: "If it were me, I'd double the size of my display, and aim some bright strobes RIGHT AT THEIR HOUSE!" etc. It sickens me.

It seems that its hard for some people to understand that our displays can be a burden on our neighbors. It also places them in an ackward situation: Many people don't like to knock on their neighbors door, particularly if you aren't terrily close with them, and say "hey I have this little problem with your lights..." So it gets bottled up, until it explodes -- often with an anonymous, caustic letter. And what's the general PC community's advice? "If they can't be man enough to sign their own letter and not attack you -- SCREW EM! Double your display and don't think twice!" Again, it sickens me.

In a private conversation with another member today, I told them it sickens me to the point that I want to sell my display, because I don't want to be associated with a hobby where such an attitude is the prevailing school of thought.

It's your RIGHT to decorate how you see fit. That means your Muslim neighbors can't force you to take down a Nativity scene, nor your ultra-conservative Christian neighbors tell you to take down Santa Claus. It does NOT mean that your neighbors have to suddenly live in the middle of a commercial-grade district on an otherwise-quiet residential street just "because it's your property".

Our large displays can be a real burden to our neighbors. We need to be bending over backwards to work with them, keeping them on our side. If that's not possible (such as the case with a couple of mine), we STILL need to bend over backwards, so that either they can get the sense that were TRYING to work with them, or at least any arbitration/city complaints/whatever can be shown easilly that you've done everything you could.

It's all common courtesy:

- Don't run your display too late. What's "too late"? Ask your neighbors what they think.

- Don't run a large light show much longer than 30 days

- Don't have highly-visible stuff in your yard for more than a couple of months (nobody wants to look at a 'dead' display from September through April).

- Be conscious of how media exposure will affect your display. Once the genie is out of the bottle, it's all but impossible to stuff back in.

This is my opinion, of course, but I STRONGLY believe it.

If the tide doesn't change, I suspect that we will not be seeing these kinds of displays in most residental areas in ten years or so. And that has nothing to do with violating my freedom of speech, and everything to do with not violating my neighbors right-to-peace...

-Tim

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Tim and Dale, excellent posts.This is the kind of discussion I was hoping for. My Muslim neighborsas well as my ultra-Christian neighborswere never an issue, I have done what I felt was necessaryin order to preserve my freedom of expression but to alsorespect their rightsin terms of their respective properties.

Because this subject comes up so often, people getting totally nasty andugly letters, othersbeing told to shut down,the list goes on an on, what Iwas hoping for is a thread that can help to ward off these problems, hopefully, for all of us that do largeor mega displays.

Not everyone has tolerant neighborslike mine, in that we have beenfortunate. What I don't like and I'll say it simply is the selfishness that is sometimes expressed over what we can do and can't do, but often what we should do is overlooked. Common sense and courtesydoes go a long way to solving some of these issues, notice I said some, not all.

I certainly try to use common sense when I run my display. I don't light up early, never before Thanksgiving. I don't run it late into the evening, shutting it down by9:30 p.m. on weekdays (heck it comes on about 4:30, so that's plenty of time), 10:30 on weekends. And as much as I would like to make it bigger, which I can do without batting an eye, I havekept it what I consider reasonable but what some of my neighbors consider large. Does it bother me to do this? No, because it beats the alternative, I don't want toaggravate my nieghbors because I have to live withthem 365, and I don'twant the Village toshut me down or give me grief. So I stay under the radar as much as possible.

When HGTV called, 3 different times, I have turned them down each time. There is no way I'm going to draw that kind of attention to my display, but that's a different thread altogether called"Why do we do it".:)

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I got into our local paper two years ago and the traffic was insane. People were driving into everybody's yards, somebody ran over my neighbor's mailbox and it was bumper to bumper for a few weeks.

When it got bad (overnight), I inserted my disclaimers in between every song (the ones where you ask people to stay in their cars, keep the volume down, do not block or turn around in a driveway, etc). It seemed to help with the noise, but there were a couple of people that still turned it up or got out of their cars (and slammed the car doors).

I did not have any press this past year and the crowds were very manageable.

I will shun press coverage and will rely strictly on word-of-mouth for those wanting to watch the display.

I also make it my goal to have all readily visible portions of the display down and hidden by 1-15 and the rest down and hidden by 2-14.

Like Tim, I will not run too late. When 10 pm hits. It is shut down - even if it is the middle of a song.

I think that we do have a moral responsibility to be good neighbors and part of that is making sure that we are not too intrusive on their holidays. Not everybody is going to want a strobe light flashing in their windows at 11 pm. Doing so night after night can make bad neighbors.

The good news (last year) is that I had a replacement mailbox on my neighbor's post within 20 minutes of me finding it the next morning. I made sure that it was secured much better than his previous one. Even though he does not decorate a single bulb, he did not say anything about it. I have the best neighbors in the area!

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Carrie,

What a great thread. I feel like you and Tim do. Last year I had over 43,000 lights. I ran the lights from 5:45 till 9ish on week days and 10ish on weekends. When it got closer to Christmas I would go a little longer.

I would be outside visiting and making sure everything was okay on busy nights. 3/4 cars at a time is busy for me. For others that is slow. I would move the neighbors trash cans so they wouldn't get run over. I would pickup any trash each day. I tried to visit with each neighbor.

I would ask them about noise or traffic. I wanted them to know I cared. When one said I should contact the news. I said I would only do the news thing if they agreed not to publish my address. I told them the display is a gift for my family, neighbors and friends. They seemed to really like that I was thoughtful enough to think of them.

If things got crazy around here I would limit how much the display was run and shorten the show. If I had to shut it down for awhile I would. My neighbors are more important then my display.

I love the creative aspect of this hobby and meeting everyone here. This is a wonderful life especially when we think of others instead of our rights.

Edit: spelling

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This year I plan to ask my neighbors in advance if any of them are planning parties and, if so, when. I will then either not run or severely shorten the show during those times to help reduce congestion.

Fortunately, I have the LED signs that run all the time and willadvise viewers why the show is not running or that it will not be running 100% on such-and-such a date. (This is in addition to the FM broadcast.)

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As I have read some of the previous threads I wonder what will happen to me with my first year of automating. My neighbors have always been complementary about my static displays and one even offered to supply electricity when I said that I was afraid of blowing circuits if I added more lights. I even got admonished the last two years when I had to cut back due to knee surgery and could not get up on the roof and did not want to have to much stuff out. They wanted the bigger display. However, automation is a different ball game. people will drive up and park in the street for many minutes, I know because I have done that at some displays. There could be multiple cars or even way to much traffic for a residential street. I am not on a major street but it is not a dead end street either. I guess we will have to wait and see, but I am planning to have an opening night ceremony and invite all of the neighbors to come by. Several of them do decorate a fair amount.

The biggest problem we have had in our neighborhood lately was a group of single young men that liked to party. I have gotten up on Saturday morning to find 12 - 15 cars parked in the street and empty beer bottles in my yard. Thankfully they have moved out and the house sits vacant while we all wait to see what new kind of neighbor we will get.

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gymnasium wrote:

As I have read some of the previous threads I wonder what will happen to me with my first year of automating. My neighbors have always been complementary about my static displays and one even offered to supply electricity when I said that I was afraid of blowing circuits if I added more lights. I even got admonished the last two years when I had to cut back due to knee surgery and could not get up on the roof and did not want to have to much stuff out. They wanted the bigger display. However, automation is a different ball game. people will drive up and park in the street for many minutes, I know because I have done that at some displays. There could be multiple cars or even way to much traffic for a residential street. I am not on a major street but it is not a dead end street either. I guess we will have to wait and see, but I am planning to have an opening night ceremony and invite all of the neighbors to come by. Several of them do decorate a fair amount.

The biggest problem we have had in our neighborhood lately was a group of single young men that liked to party. I have gotten up on Saturday morning to find 12 - 15 cars parked in the street and empty beer bottles in my yard. Thankfully they have moved out and the house sits vacant while we all wait to see what new kind of neighbor we will get.

Uh, oh.

It might get ugly this year.

Here come the neighbors: :P:laughing:

re4_ps2_2005_villagers_attacking.jpg

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Alright here goes...

I think you should double your display and point some strobes at the neighbors house!!

Nah, just kidding. Lots of good notes, thoughts, etc on this post. I don't post here much anymore but this is a great thread and has a lot of mature, intelligent, responses.

My thoughts on this? I've had a display for years. Always static until last year, when we went to LOR and FM transmitted musicto cars and outdoor speakers. And we saw an increase in traffic. Our static display used to draw plenty of visitors(3-5 cars at a time, upwards of 20-30 people on a normal night, more on the weekends), and I had some concerns over how much it would pick up.

So I planned ahead. I listened to several of the more experienced animated users on PC and TCL, and tried to make sure that I didn't have any unforseen problems.

First thing I did was make my show progress like this: one song, then a five to eight minute break where everything was on in static mode, then the next song. Seemed to work well, as one song would finish, the groups would move on. Many people actually came back night after night to see a different song, which was kind of neat to see.

I also tried to ensure that I was running the show at decent times (10pm on weeknights, 11pm on weekends). I always "light up" the day after Thanksgiving and the last night is always January 1st.

I went out with several TCL members to tour light displays one Saturday. While we were out, my wife called and said "There are 17 cars out front and none of them are leaving! What do I do?" I verbally walked her through going to the show computer in the garage and disabling the LOR show. Everything went dark, and people moved on. Crisis avoided.

I have had many, many, many people ask if they can call the tv stations or newspapers to tell them about the display. I always tell them that I don't advertise because we don't have to. I don't link my website everywhere and I don't go out looking for publicity (and I want to say that I don't hold it against those who do these things. It's up to the individual.). I just don't think I need to do that: we get enough traffic without it.

I run displays for Easter, July 4th, and Halloween as well, and the neighborhood loves it. Why? Not only is it pretty and unique, but we always try to be considerate of the neighbors.

Let me tell you something that George Carlinrecently said: There are no rights. If there was, how do I know when your rights to something ends and my rights to not be infringed upon begin? There are privileges; that's all. It's a privilege to be able to decorate (don't believe me? Ask Richard Holdman). It's a privilege to be a part of this hobby. It's not a right, God given or otherwise.

Morale of the story? Be considerate. Be responsible. And just be nice to the people that come to your display, and that livenext toyou all year around!

Ryan

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Guest NeedMoreLight

I have wondered howneighbor's opinionswould play out when I decided to take up this electronic and flashy decorating thing. I've read with great interest about several of the incidents that occurred. One of the post's was Tim's, asking people to go and thank their neighbor's for being accepting of their shows. Another was John Garrant(?) discussing damage done to his display. I didn't see that anyone was ever charged in the loss of his decoratons and controls. While it saddens me that the issue exists,I am a realist and know that there are always going to be people that look for something to complain about. I have an example of what I mean. When I first moved to this state, I had a job reading gas and electric meters in a very heavily populated area. One day I was given an account to read, and was told the owner was a "psycho" She would be video taping my every move because she was "nuts" When I got to the house I walked up to the door, making sure not to step on the grass along the way. She came out and walked me to the meters with the video camera on me the entire time. She recorded as I pointed to the meters, read the numbers aloud (Here's the kicker! We read them backwards and enter them into the hand-held computer that way. I won't be long winded and explain but if you read meters it would make sense to you why) and then showed her on the computer that the correct numbers were displayed. She then recorded the meters to show what they displayed. After we walked around to the front of the house, she turned the camera off. She complimented meand then saidshe had never seen me before. I was told I had done a very good job of reading the meters even if I did it backwards. So I took a chance and asked her why she recorded it on video, did she have a bad experience with her bill? She got very red faced and said no, then exclaimed that nobody can be trusted in today's society. Then she stormed into the house. I was hoping I could make a bridge. That there was some history I could glaze over. Nope. She was just plain nuts!

So I know they exist. I read about some of those peoplehere. I took up the subject with my closest neighbors and got a positive response. I gave them a chance to see some of the things I'm making and told them what was going to happen, showed them some of the videos from the Light-O-Rama vendors website (Tim's is one of them) Some of them talked to a few other neighbors. I talked to the other neighbors. I stopped a cop! He's all excited because he lives a block away and has kids that go crazy for Christmas and Halloween decorations. So far, there isn't anyone showing any disdain for the idea. I begged them to be honest with me about it. I don't want to make a big investment in this idea and have it flattened by a Court injunction. I have taken what I have learned here, and applied it to my plans for the future. I Hope and Pray for a positive result.

I too think that thumbing your nose at your neighbor's opinions and rights is a very bad stance to take. And that being neighborlyand accepting of others is the right thing to do. Another example:Our communty's property lines are shown on your site survey when you purchase a home. The fences are also drawn on the survey. From those two things a person can tell that the property lines in our community are very blurry. Fences cross property lines everywhere, and it's accepted. One former neighbor came into the neighborhood immediately threatening to sue those on three sides of his property as their fences were encroaching onto his property. And by only 6" at the worst point. (It's why we all referred to him as "six inch") Within a year after he and his wife arrived with their U-Haul full of belongings, they were an island of themselves in their home. No one in the community cared to interact with them in any way. They really didn't do anything more than threaten to ensure the boundary of something they owned.They just went about it in the wrong way and spoiled any chance to have a happy home in a nice community. There was no agression by anyone over it, he never sued anyone, the fences are still in the same place, they eventually moved away and I see him drive by every once in a while on the way to somewhere else. I hope he started outa little bit better wherever he went.

Stomping on therelationship you have with those who live in close proximity to you can't ever have a positive result. Even if there is no verbal relationship, you are related by the mere fact ofthat proximity. Turning up the music, pointing lights at people's homes, inviting others tohelp promote anegativeresponse to a neighbor's complaints about your display are all crappy ideas that can't ever result in anything good. If you've got a neighbor that hates your lights, hates your religeous beliefs, hates the way you celebratethrough decorating, or just hates as a way to exist, you have to make it your responsibility to not offend. You live near them, and you can't make them go away. I think "six inch" moved because he was lonely and was bothered that everyone in the neightborhood got along and helped each other, and none of them did any of that with him. So he is the exception to the rule as he moved away. Most of the bad ones stay because they have no where else to go. Or they have their own reasons why,only they know why they are the way they are. Remember the phrase "Why ask why?"

I want to thank everyone who discussed all of this. Here, and in the other discussions too. Even if I don't agree at all with the way many people take an aggressive stance, it helped me to understand what I needed to do. It helped me to understand that there are people that will look me in the face and say one thing, then snoop around behind my backor brood quietly over what they clearly said was "OK" That, until it buildsup and explodes out onto the street. A street that has a few cars on it viewing Christmas lights.Once again I hope what I took away from my searches here, and the discussions I've had with my neighbors will end up smoothing over the explosion of light in the coming year. Each person that does this does it for their own reasons.

I really see no reason for anyone to change the way they celebrate Jesus' birthday over the 'twisted' (IMHO) opinions of those who would act in an agressive way over poor neighbor relations. But from what I've read so far feelings seem to go very deep here on PlanetChristmas. I have seen some very great things in these discussions. Scot Myer's accident, and the gift from the Lord of all the goodwill is the most shining example. But there's also quite a pile of dookie around too. I'll try to avoid that as I likewise try to avoid offending my neighbors.

Carrie, your first sentance seems to me to be a question. So I would like to respond with my opinion. I think your neighbors and you need to come to an agreement over the dividing lines that set your rights as neighbors. It is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do as an adult. (I have no children and cannot so that limits the playing field a little) I have always tried to do as much as I can for my neighbors, and accept as little as possible in return. It's something I watched my Father do when I grew up and he has always been respected, yet not taken advantage of. Closing in on 50, I feel that I am respected in my community and I respect in kind. You seem to have come to an agreement in yours, as did Tim in his. While we can choose where we live, neighbor's are mostly the luck of the draw. The Queen of Spades living right next door may be the kiss of death to an animated Christmas display, they still have the right to be angry about your fence in their yard or video tape the meter reader or be upset about traffic and news crews blocking their driveway.

I hope all I've learned here gets me through all that, but if not, be watching for a sale on all the things I'm buying for my display.

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Great post and very good comments. This is my first year going animated and I have been wondering what my neighbors are going to think to. I moved into my house last year and had a static display this year with about 7500 lights. My neighbors are mostly retired andhave lived in their homes since they were built back in the late 70's.This year I willhave 32 channels of LOR with an FM transmitter.This will be something new for the neighborhood and really forthe whole subdivision. I only saw one other house that is animated and that is in the next subdivision.I originally thought about going all out, but I have decided to take it easy and just make smooth sequences using three colors like Richards display. I dont want to irritate my neighbors with alot of flashing lightsfrom the start. I like the idea that RMJohn99 had about letting the song run and then go static for a few minutes.On a side note, this is the best site and thanks everyone for all the great advice.

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I'm really enjoying these comments ... and learning a lot.

My worries are based on the fact that I have one neighbor who has never been friendly towards me and seems to essentally act the same to any neighbor who appears to be a friend of mine. In fact, she is maybe more hostile towards my neighbor on the other side than even me.

Long story short, she seems to thrive on conflict and negative behavior ... and became our HOA president byquestionable circumstances... and has abused that power to make others miserable and run things more like a police state than a neighborhood HOA. This has been the ultimate example of how HOA powers can be abused for your own agenda. I've taken the approach that if I don't react or get involved in any conflicts with her, that then things can be ok between us. That seems to be working.

Anyways, this neighbor has settled down in the last 6 months and we just don't have any interaction with each other ... and that seems to be the best solution for us, unfortunately. I have previously tried doing all sorts of good deeds for them, but never got a thank youor any behavior improvement ... so I finally stopped doing those things. She has kind of focused on trying to make my other neighbor miserable by reporting them for any minor HOA infraction possible. After a while, it really gets to you. So my other neighbors seem supportive and may even want to participate in future years. I told them that in 2008, I would be too new to do multiple homes, but that I would consider involving them in future years if I could handle it and they still wanted to.

I maintain my property impeccably and follows the rules of the community.

This (problematic) neighbor did come out an kick over some Christmas blowmolds a couple years back. When I came outside to see was going on ... her husband was outside calling for her to come in!! I think it was a drunken rage sort of thing. I just picked it up and didn't let it bother me too much.

In 12/2007 ... nothing abnormal occurred, thankfully. I also had the area covered by a security camera, just in case.

So my worries, as a newbie LOR'r in 2008 ... are in part, crowd control (to a lesser extent) and the other part -- if the neighbor will be tolerant of my show. She occasionally puts outs a few lights, but mostly just a very minimal set or two along the front entry sidewalk. Its just her very negative and mean spirited nature that worries me the most.

I am thinking of obtaining a second camera ... and being very respectful of the hours of operation. I also plan to take the stuff down ASAP after Jan 1st. I also don't plan on doing any publicity at all ... just word of mouth from friends and neighbors. My house being in a smaller town (30k people) and in a neighborhood nearby the countryside ... I would hope the crowds would be minimal, or just 4-7 cars per hour.

I'm also planning on playing a 25 second spot every couple songs that tells people to be respectful of my neighbors, turn of headlights, don't litter, don't block driveways, etc.

There is no other animated display in town ... but there was one a couple years back ... and I never saw more than 1-4 cars there at any time. My local PCmentor, Scot Meyers, has warned me against advertising or doing TV spots, etc ... and I think that was very sage advice. If the crowds do somehow become too large, I would be willing to shut it down or reduce the show time or hours ...

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NeedMoreLight wrote:

Carrie, your first sentance seems to me to be a question. So I would like to respond with my opinion. I think your neighbors and you need to come to an agreement over the dividing lines that set your rights as neighbors. It is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do as an adult. (I have no children and cannot so that limits the playing field a little) I have always tried to do as much as I can for my neighbors, and accept as little as possible in return. It's something I watched my Father do when I grew up and he has always been respected, yet not taken advantage of. Closing in on 50, I feel that I am respected in my community and I respect in kind. You seem to have come to an agreement in yours, as did Tim in his. While we can choose where we live, neighbor's are mostly the luck of the draw. The Queen of Spades living right next door may be the kiss of death to an animated Christmas display, they still have the right to be angry about your fence in their yard or video tape the meter reader or be upset about traffic and news crews blocking their driveway.

Needmore light, thanks for youropinion, well stated (butin realitymy question was posedrhetorically), but your advice is very good, solid, advice. ;)I have personally not had any issues with my new neighbors in respect toour display.

When they moved in, we went over and introduced ourselves (brought them some cookies too). Fortunately, the timing was right, they moved in in late September and I was just starting to sort out some of the "stuff" that would be going up for the Halloween display. They were outdoors that day, and as neighbors do, we started to chat over the fence. They smilingly asked what are you doing? What is all that stuff?Perfect opportunity to tell them, specifically, what we do at Halloween and Christmas.

Itold them thetruth, didn't downplay or exaggerate,and told them exactly what they could expect, thousands of lights, hundreds of blow molds and frames, inflatables (that year), and many cars in the evening. We share a driveway with them,it goes right down the middle of our respective propertiesand I did warn them that people might try to park on their side to watch the display. They didn't seem to mind about that but did ask how long they park etc. I told them that if they wanted us to, we wouldput cones on their side each night. They declinedand said they would wait and see what happened.Their only real question that caused me momentary concern was "Are your decorations religious?" And I responded that yes, a large part of the display was a large nativity scene and choir, angels, etc. but also was secular.I then asked them if they had any problem or issue with the religious aspect?My heart was hammering a bit,I was fearful that they would respond that they did have a problem with it, oh no, how will we handle that? Fortunately, their answer was great "We are all people of the Book, we have no problem with it, just curiousas towhat you do religiously" We spent a good 45 minutes discussing the "display" what goes into it, why we do it, etc. They even came over and saw all the stored items and seemed pretty excited by everything (although they were convinced we are completely nuts).

Their first year here, I was out putting up lights, he came out and started to string a few white lights on his bushes. He then came over and asked for some help, couldn't get a string to light. I ended up fixing his string (Light-keeper Pro!) and gave them another 10 strings for their bushes. They were delighted with the way it looked. I asked them "why are you doing this, you're Muslim?" They said that lights in the darkness of winter look great, that they like to be a part of the overall joy of the Holiday season (no flames please), and although they do not share my Christian beliefs, they revere Jesus Christ as a phophet. Their spirit was truly delightful.

They continue to put up their little display each year. In the evening, he will usually park his car down at the end of his drive to keep people off his side. It worked out and there have only been a few instances where cars did block the end of the drive. But the way we do our display (no transmitter, one song, then a period of static..etc.) helps to keep this issue to a minimum. We have been as careful of their privacy and needs as we possibly can be, they in turn have been good neighbors to us. Was it luck? Yes for sure, tons of luck,you can't pick your neighbors. But if you treat them with courtesy, respect,and honesty, I think the chances areincreased for a better outcome.

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I have to say that reading all of the posts in this section of the forums makes me very glad that I live outside of town.

From what I see and hear, HOA's or Home Owners Associations seem to have more in common with the Kremlin of the Cold War than anything else. I sure am glad we do not have one!!! Part of the reasoning behind moving outside of town was to get away from the extra taxes and rules/regulations that our nearest town has. Not that I am opposed to smart government, I just don't like them to get too much into my life.(for instance, now I can target shoot in my backyard)

You should treat your neighbor as you want to be treated. Hopefully your neighbor is not a psycho or a Christmas hater that will not compromise. I am lucky because the few houses near me like my displays and we have plenty of space. Also, being outside of town seems to cut down on how long a car stays parked watching.

I wish you all good luck in dealing with your neighbors!!!

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specfour wrote:

From what I see and hear, HOA's or Home Owners Associations seem to have more in common with the Kremlin of the Cold War than anything else. I sure am glad we do not have one!!! Part of the reasoning behind moving outside of town was to get away from the extra taxes and rules/regulations that our nearest town has. Not that I am opposed to smart government, I just don't like them to get too much into my life.(for instance, now I can target shoot in my backyard)

our neighborly relations should extend well beyond making sure that our lights don't bother them. they should extend to people saying hello when we see each other ALL YEAR LONG, and having them as freinds who we converse with the rest of the year, not just when we get ready to decorate. Obviously, you can't get along with everyone and some people/neighbors don't want to be our friends. But I would have to imainge that the complaints typically come from the people who we don't maintain those relationships with all year round.

As for HOAs they were created with good intent, but many have gone overboard and a little astray. I am very fortunate to live under an HOA that encourages decoarting and even has a contest. But our book of covenants also states that season decorations must be setup only for a reasonable time period. While that isn't very specific, it gives a little leeway for folks to take down their decor within a couple of weeks of Christmas, knowing that if we do leave them up, we would receive a formal notice to please take them down before fines were issued.

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Iagree witheverything everyone has said..however you sometimes cant please everyone. No matter how hard you try, you have to just leave the ones alone who dont likewhat your doingand just accept that they dont like it. Thats what we have chosen to do. My one neighbor has told me that she will never like it because its her right to not like it.

Idont feel i that I shouldnt be allowed to celebrate christmas and put out lights because my neighbors dont like them simply because they go to music and are animated and that my display attracts people. Being in a neighborhood, you should accept that people are not allgonna agree all the time and you do your best to agree where you can. Maybe turn the lights of a little early, keep the noise down, and keep traffic to an acceptable level.

I am evenwilling to not have LOR as part of my halloween display this year and only decorate my front porch, but i will not give up my Christmas display as its my right to put out lights if i want to.

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I agree with most of what has been posted. You DO need to plan neighbor relations into your display. To a point. There's always going to be one person who is never happy. Or, in my case, a neighbor who gets too drunk and starts yelling at the spectators! If your curious, the story is in another thread in this forum.

It's the old saying, you can't please all of the people all of the time. Lucky for me there's no governing body (other than the town) to say what I can and cannot do. I'd LOVE to shine every lightI have onto the drunk's house. But I wouldn't. It's not the right thing to do. But, still it's nice to know that I could. Sorry Tim if that upsets you.

It is truly a delicate balance of several factors. Money, power, lights, neighbors, traffic, time to set up/tear down. If my neighbors are "man enough" to express a concern to me I do my best to address it. That's why I only have one outdoor speaker. I didn't know she could hear it inside her house untill she said something! So I now have one under my porch on low so I can hear it when I'm outside.

Tell your neighbors that you won't know there's a problem unless they tell you about it!

The sole reason for me to do a display is to have fun and enjoy it. I refuse to let someone elses opinion get me down. But as a home owner I expect my neighbors to behave in a certain way, as I'm sure they expect from me. Having the police at your house every other night doesn't make for a good neighbor, unless they ARE the police! So, I try to accommodate everyone, INCLUDING me! After all, they are MY lights!

Scott

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I am starting out in computerized Christmas lights for the 2008 season. I'm not worried about the neighbors too much because all 5 of them have a Christmas display ofsome sort. I also am not running shows past 10:00 or static lights past 11:00. The only thing I may have to worry about is vandals! :D

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cnrtechhead wrote:

The only thing I may have to worry about is vandals! :D

That's a legitimate fear; the fear of vandals. Lots of good threads on PC, CLC, and CC that will help you with some ideas on how to deter destruction of your display.

You may think that traffic isn't a concern for you, since it's your first year and others around you have displays, but you should be prepared for the increase in traffic(and potential headaches) that animation will bring to you. Believe me, none of us thought we were getting in over our heads when we did the jump either.

Ryan

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I don't worry too much about the neighbors since ;

  1. They encourage us to build a bigger / funner display,
  2. They start asking around September when they can come over and help put up the display,
  3. They have continuously enhanced their displays every year since we started,
  4. They are now asking us to extend our display into their yards,
  5. When I apologize for the traffic, they tell me to quit apologizing and keep the display on longer so more people can enjoy it.
How can we go wrong with this.

They love the idea that we will change themes every other year. They look forward to "Whats New".....

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