From Halloween through the New Year, there are all sorts of opportunities to celebrate, decorate…and break every HOA rule in the book. But while you love the festivities as much as anyone else, you still have community standards to maintain. All too often, adherence to HOA holiday decoration rules and such can put a damper on your delicate image. So how do you enforce the rules without zapping the mood? By using some simple remedies to debunk those HOA holiday decorations myths.

Myth: HOAs exist to outlaw holiday fun

Remedy: Show you know how have a good time by encouraging — even planning — homeowner gatherings. How about a chili cook-off or street party for Halloween? The rules may not allow bloody zombies crawling out of flower beds, but that doesn’t mean you can’t scare up a little fun.

Myth: HOA leadership is anything but warm and fuzzy

Remedy: Serving others has a way of bringing out the best in everyone. As far as your HOA is concerned, organizing service opportunities might help residents see the organization in a more human light. Around Thanksgiving and Christmas, there are ample opportunities to serve meals at homeless shelters, organize food drives, or help out local families through a sub-for-Santa program. You’ll give people a reason to socialize, feel good, and best of all, do some good in your local area.

Myth: HOA stands for “hatred of adornment”

Remedy: Your HOA probably does have rules about excessive holiday displays. You might not even allow them at all. But that doesn’t mean you can’t let residents show off their decorating abilities.

If you do allow porch or front door decorations, try sponsoring a contest. See who can come up with the best decorations that fit within the rules. If your HOA doesn’t allow these displays at all, why not put on an event where people have a certain time limit to decorate ginger bread houses? You could even form a committee to make the common area or club-house decorations really special.

With the holiday season upon us, look for ways to add some spirit to your community. If you play your cards right, enforcing the rules won’t have to fly in the face of having a little fun. With a little bit of effort and smart PR, your HOA can be by-the-book without becoming “bah-humbug.”

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