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On Neighbor Relations Print E-mail
Tuesday, 25 March 2008
As light-enthusiasts, our judgment is clouded when it comes to those people who don't approve of what we do.  Many, if not all light-enthusiasts think more is better.  We spend hundreds of hours planing, and setting up.  Our hearts go into our displays.

Lets face some facts.  We LOVE the attention our displays draw TO US during the season.  We may argue that we do this to spread cheer, celebrate the season, or what ever - but there is NO denying that we like being the center of attention on our block/in our city/etc. 

Unfortunately, not everyone will understand our obsession.  85% of the people out there love what we do for that month and a half (percentages mine).  10% may tolerate what we do, simply because they understand that we can do what we like with our property.  The other 5% during the season are (rightfully) asked to take their Scrooge aspirations elsewhere. 

But because of the excitement and joy we bring during the season sometimes we tend to short-change the other end:  the breakdown and clean-up.  We need to remember that for the other 10 and 1/2 months a year we must be good neighbors.  Just because we spread a great deal of cheer during the season does not give us the right to use up ANY of the good will/tolerance that MAY be extended to us by our neighbors.  

As visible as we are DURING the season is as INVISIBLE as we must be during the rest of the year. 

Since our actual displays are out of the ordinary, it is imperative that we go to EXTRA ordinary lengths in EVERYTHING that we do:

  • We need to compress our setup into as short a time as possible. 
  • We should set up in a 'least to most visible' way.
  • We must minimize ANY disruptions to our neighbors during the season.
  • Tear down must be done quickly in as short of a time as possible.
  • We should tear down in a 'most to least visible' way.

I realize that it is not a lot of fun to do tear down, but we absolutely MUST schedule our tear-down time as carefully as our set up time.  For those of us in mild climates, this is an easy task.  For the many that have to deal with winter time snow and cold you have it tougher - but don't use the cold as an excuse to NOT perform your duty.  Ask yourself:  'Would I set up in this weather?'  If the answer is yes, then you should be out there taking stuff down.

Life sometimes throws us a curve which may prevent us from getting done what we need to get done.  Sure, it's OK to postpone some things but remember:  we MUST go to extra-ordinary lengths to be good neighbors.  Those lengths may demand that we hire some help to do a tear-down if it is not progressing quickly enough. 

As enthusiasts, we are outraged when those 1 or 2 Scrooges shut any of our brothers'/sisters' displays down.  However we MUST take the moral high road here.  Our indignation is ONLY justified if we are as good a neighbor as we can be:   by complying with all laws/rules and making our displays visible for a reasonable time. 

Each of us should promise:

"For this and every subsequent year we plan not only for setup and maximum enjoyment for the visitors, but also for tear down and minimizing our impact on our neighbors."

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