When a Festive Display of Christmas Lights Sets Off the Neighbors


Forget that it’s “the season to be jolly.” Outdoor Christmas lights are sparking some nasty reactions among neighbors.

Just recently, in River Falls, WI, one woman went so far as to call the cops to complain that her neighbor’s holiday lights were keeping her up at night, according to the Grand Forks Herald. Yet the police replied that there was nothing they could do, since, well, there’s no law prohibiting Christmas lights.

And they’re right—although the Consumer Product Safety Commission released new federal regulations last holiday season mandating that the lights we string up are safe, it did not limit how many lights can go up, or what hours they can be on. So if your neighbors want to turn their front yard into the Las Vegas Strip, it’s their right! If you can’t handle the blinding glare of all that holiday cheer, take your “bah humbug” attitude elsewhere.

Sleep-deprived residents in Buellton, CA, called the city about neighbor Michelle Alexander’s Christmas lights adding too much hustle and bustle to their once-quiet street. They, too, were shut down rather than getting the lights shut off.

“The municipal code allows Christmas displays,” was the city’s reply, according to KSBY news. “No stance. It’s allowed.”

Occasionally, these Christmas light turf wars can turn intense. Last December, a battle erupted on Fairley Road in Ross Township, PA, after one neighbor asked another to turn off his Christmas lights off while her family had dinner. According to “20/20,” the guy was so offended, he started blasting floodlights through the woman’s windows. For good measure, he added a light-up urinating Santa Claus, beheaded choir, and a sign saying, “This display is dedicated to Ross Township. Shame on you for destroying my display that brought so much joy and happiness to so many people.”

Yeah, that guy turned away from “joy and happiness” pretty fast.

Our advice, before you string up hundreds of lights, remember: Christmas happens once a year; you live among your neighbors every day. Are the 12 days of Christmas really worth 365 days of neighbor tension? If your Christmas lights are bugging your neighbors, maybe you could find a middle ground, like shutting them off by 10 p.m. You’ll save on power, too!