Decorating with Flair… While Keeping it Fair

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Decorating is one of the most fun aspects of the holidays. It’s the time of the year when your lawn goes from the same everyday style to a winter wonderland. If you’re in a community with an HOA or are looking to keep everyone in your neighborhood happy, this one’s for you.

Keep it Tasteful

It’s very easy to get carried away with holiday decorations, Christmas and Halloween especially. Keep in mind, that while it’s on your own lawn, everyone in the neighborhood will be subjected to anything you place on display. If your Holiday lights create too much light pollution, you may need to keep them off during respectable hours so as to not wake any of your neighbors up. Lights that blink or are too bright can be subject to local ordinances as well. These rules vary by city or county and violations could result in ticketing and fining.

As tempting as going extreme Holiday decorating is, it’s not worth giving yourself a record.

Talk With Your Neighbors

If you’re new to the area or want to start decorating this year, try asking a community member about decorating policies for your community. Talking with the people who live around you creates a sense of Holiday cheer and helps you stay in good graces with people you could be living next to for a while. It’s not always possible to please everyone but stick with a good balance of your own tastes with your communities.

Community Policies

Does your community have an HOA? Does that HOA prohibit year round decorations, lights, or signage? Some communities are more lenient for the Holidays and are worth the quick chat with your association members to find out. Keep in mind that these rules and regulations are contractually enforceable in your neighborhood.

Keeping the Peace

There are a multitude of ways to celebrate this Holiday season. It may be Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or maybe nothing at all. Many neighborhoods are multi-cultural, and part of being a good neighbor is to respect everyone’s right to celebrate how they choose.

This is the time of year to think about each other.

If you have a theme for your front yard, be polite and kind about your presentation and do your part to keep peace in your neighborhood for the Holiday season.

Bottom Line

The best way to keep your Holiday Decorating stress-free is to research, talk with your neighbors and community members, and to be thoughtful in your planning.

 

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Do You Know Your Fireworks Laws?

dark-1845065_960_720It’s time once again to celebrate the 4th of July!  Millions of people will celebrate Independence Day throughout the country.  Often times, the first thing people think of when picturing a 4th of July celebration is fireworks.  While fireworks are very enjoyable to watch, there are some important things to keep in mind.

In Florida, many types of fireworks are illegal.  Though many people purchase fireworks and sign a waiver, this is actually a misdemeanor offense unless you are using the fireworks to frighten birds away from your crops.  As a general guideline, fireworks that do not fly or leave the ground are okay such as sparklers, colorful smoke bombs, and snakes.  Even fireworks such as Roman candles which seem tamer are not legal.

In addition to fireworks being illegal to purchase, many communities have restrictions in place regarding the use of fireworks in the neighborhood.  Board member Dan Isbell from Trillium of Brooksville communicated to residents regarding this issue.  “We live in close quarters and we need to be considerate of our neighbors and remain lawful,” Dan stated.  “Fireworks can disrupt needed sleep, can frighten babies and/or pets, and can cause tempers to flare.”  Most communities take a similar stance and will enforce the law regarding the use of fireworks.

This is certainly not to say you don’t deserve to celebrate the 4th of July while watching a beautiful fireworks display.  After some fun with cooking out and playing with sparklers, check your local area to find the nearest fireworks display.  These are abundant on 4th of July and often in the days leading up to it.  These shows are put on by professionals that have proper permitting and are able to do these displays in a safe manner.  Many of these displays are free also so bring the entire family to marvel at a lovely light show in the sky.  Most of all, have a safe and enjoyable Independence Day!

How to Spend a Rainy Memorial Day Weekend

edceee-78881-unsplashEven though the technical first day of summer is still about a month away, many consider Memorial Day Weekend to be the official kickoff to the summer season.  Families all over the state often take a day trip to the beach or have a backyard barbecue which are great options.  However, this year the Sunshine State is not forecasted to be so sunny.  What to do when rain comes to town for the long weekend?

Luckily, there is no shortage of fun, indoor activities for the family.  Here are some ideas on what to do this weekend if there is a washout for the local parade or barbecue.

  • Head to the theater. Movies are always a great rainy day activity and many anticipated movies usually come out over Memorial Day Weekend.  Browse for showtimes and purchase tickets online in advance to make sure you have a spot during the busy weekend.  Also consider checking out a local theater for any plays or other performances going on!  This can be a unique twist on the theater.
  • Learn something. Visit your local museum or science center.  It can be a great opportunity to learn about science, history, art, culture, and more.  If you have younger children, many museums have interactive sections geared towards the little ones so they can learn while having fun.
  • Have a friendly competition. Turn off the electronics and break out the board games or cards!  This is great entertainment for large groups if you need to move the party inside.
  • Get sporty. For some activity, head to the local bowling alley, indoor golf, or arcade.  Many areas are adding indoor sports complexes with a variety of activities so check Google to see if any of these are in your area.
  • Get your nerd on! It’s cool to embrace your inner nerd and what better place to do it than Megacon?  If you can make it to Orlando for Memorial Day weekend you can attend this event which is an homage to all things pop culture.  Enjoy the events and the guests that participate in often impressive cosplay.
  • Remember the reason for the holiday. If a sunny day is in the cards on Monday, many places will sponsor parades and other tributes.  You can also visit your local memorial garden and place decorations and wreaths for fallen veterans.  If it’s a rainy day, consider making some crafts with the kids to decorate with or honor those who sacrificed by writing a letter to someone currently serving.

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There are definitely lots of options when it comes to finding something fun to do over the three-day weekend.  Whatever you decide to do, enjoy time with family and friends and be safe!

The Benefits of Being Thankful

giving-thanks-2Once again, the holiday season is upon us!  While there are many exciting and joyous times ahead, sometimes the stress of the season can get to us and cloud the purpose behind some of these festivities.  Let’s take Thanksgiving, for example.  Many of us get anxious about purchasing groceries, cleaning our homes in preparation for guests, and then cooking what is often the largest meal of the year!  What if we tried to take a moment to slow down and appreciate this holiday for what it is intended to be – a day to be around our loved ones and to think about what we are grateful for.

Being thankful is not just about being polite.  There are some real benefits to it that are backed up by science!  Spending just five minutes each day focusing on what you are grateful for can improve your physical and emotional health more than 10%.  This impact is the same as what you would feel if your income doubled.  Additionally, those that focus on being thankful often have better social lives.  Showing gratitude in our day to day lives makes us kinder and more appreciative which tends to have a positive effect on how others perceive us.

Thankfulness can also make us more optimistic and less materialistic.  Sometimes during this time of year, we can get caught up in the value of objects, but if you make it a point to practice gratitude in your daily life, you may find that you focus more on things like family, friends, and hobbies instead of material objects.  This can help improve your general outlook on your own life and circumstances.

With so many benefits associated with being thankful, what better time a year to start practicing?  Consider keeping a journal for the rest of the year and each day write a couple of lines of things you are grateful for.  Take your growing positivity and share it with others!  Consider working to get your neighborhood together for a Thanksgiving celebration.  You could do a potluck to spend time together or perhaps invite neighbors that might be alone during the holidays over to share in your celebrations.

This is also a good time to help the community.  Your association could consider hosting a food drive or get a group of volunteers together to help out at a local shelter or soup kitchen.  This is something that people of all ages can participate in and it can help remind you of all you have to be grateful for!

The holidays only come around once a year and can fly by in a blur of activity.  Try to take a moment to close your laptop, put down your cell phone, and truly enjoy the special things that happen this time of year and most of all, enjoy spending extra time with family, friends, and neighbors.  That is something to truly be thankful for!