Turn Off The Christmas Lights; It's Past Time, People [Block Talk]

ACROSS AMERICA — “City sidewalks, busy sidewalks dressed in holiday style; in the air, there’s a feeling of Christmas” — stop that right now because we’re over it, many people who answered an informal Patch survey said.
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A few holdouts told us twinkling lights make them happy when we asked when holiday lights should be turned off for Block Talk, Patch’s exclusive neighborhood etiquette column. One of them was Across Massachusetts Patch reader Katie, who said, “I love lights year-round round — white fairy lights, colored lights. Lights.”

We also asked when blow-ups should be deflated and packed away, and not just a couple of people said they should never have been put up in the first place — reinforcing a popular belief that if it has to be inflated, it’s a pool toy, not a yard decoration.

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There was no consensus among the more than 170 people from across the country who responded to the survey, but many favor killing the lights on New Year’s Day or, at the latest, after the Epiphany, or Three Kings Day as the Jan. 6 holy day is often called.

Others were more generous with the calendar. Some weren’t.

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Cranford (New Jersey) Patch and Wilmette-Kenilworth (Illinois) Patch reader Barbara is done. So done. So, so done.

“New Year’s Day!” she wrote. “I’m STILL blinded by a neighbor’s lights, which they keep on 24/7. There should be a law to prevent this ‘quality of life’ issue.”

The line is even harder for Phoenixville (Pennsylvania) Patch reader Jan, who said, “I’m sick of them by Dec. 26.”

“Any time they want. There is no set date,” said Huntington (New York) Patch reader Scott, who seemed a little morose that he took down his lights two weeks after New Year’s Day.

“Now we just have the cold, dead gray of winter,” he said. “Isn’t that depressing?”

They’re Winter Lights, Though

Janice, an East Greenwich (Rhode Island) Patch reader, thinks massive yard displays should go dark on New Year’s Day to conserve electricity.

“Plus, Santa has long come and gone back to the North Pole. Floodlights highlighting wreaths should end at Epiphany, the 12th day of Christmas,” Janice said. “The Wise Men, by now, have found the baby. They’re good.”

Candlelights placed in windows after Thanksgiving to welcome Christmas and Hanukkah stay on for months in keeping with the New England tradition, Janice said.

“I find them welcoming when I come home during the dark and cold months,” she said. “I keep them up until the last day of winter. They’re winter lights.”

Burke (Virginia) Patch reader Mary is of the same mind “They must stay up until at least Epiphany,” she said, “and if they’re more winter-themed than Christmas-themed, they can stay up through January to bring light to the dark winter nights.”

In Illinois, Mokena Patch, Tinley Park Patch and New Lenox Patch reader Eva likes to see holiday lights until sometime “before March, or whenever somebody feels like it, but definitely not New Year’s.”

“Some people like to celebrate Jesus for a long time,” Eva said. “What’s wrong with having lights on the house, anyway? I think they’re pretty.”

“There’s no harm in expressing the holiday spirit longer,” said Manchester (New Jersey) Patch reader Lisa. “I rather enjoy the lights at night.”

The holidays aren’t over for people waiting for family members in the military who couldn’t get leave earlier, Across America Patch reader Amy pointed out.

Many people leave their displays up until Feb. 2, or Candlemas, the conclusion of the Christmas-Epiphany season for Catholics, said Ryan, who reads Joliet Patch, Tinley Park Patch and Oak Forest Patch, all in Illinois, says the date for lights out is Feb. 2, or Candlemas, the conclusion of the

As long as there’s snow on the ground, keep the lights on, said Springfield (Pennsylvania) Patch reader Kerri.

It’s Not Your Business

Across America Patch reader Heather said her personal preference is mid-January but also said that shouldn’t dictate what others do.

“It gets really sad when all the neighborhood goes dark,” Heather said. “I like to see some lights still up on a dreary night — but the blow-ups need to be put away.”

The cutoff date is “when the homeowner decides to take the lights he purchased off of the house that he purchased,” said Across America Patch reader Anthony.

“Keep them as long as you want,” said T.M., who reads Northampton Patch and Warminster Patch, both in Pennsylvania. “You are paying the electric bill.”

Turn off the lights “whenever you feel like it, or when you notice daylight lasting longer,” said Across America Patch reader Sam.

Just chill, said Minneapolis Patch reader Charlanda, who thinks both holiday lights and blow-up displays should be taken down “whenever the owner wants to.”

Glendora (California) Patch reader Paree agrees when to flip the switch is up to the homeowner, but also pointed out, “Security lighting is far more annoying.”

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

“If it is okay to start them at Thanksgiving, a month ahead, then it should be okay to have them into late January, a month after,” Tinley Park (Illinois) Patch reader Katie reasoned.

But she wonders how the issue of when people turn off their lights and take down their displays even became a thing.

“If I saw them on in February, I wouldn’t view it as malicious, but rather someone that is having a hard time and needs to extend that joy, or someone that is too busy or ill to take them down,” she said. “The weather is also a big factor around here. Maybe the good weather days are always when somebody is stuck at work.”

Several other readers said the weather, not some date on a calendar, guides their decisions on when to cut the power.

Baldwin-Whitehall (Pennsylvania) Patch reader Kerri prefers “any nice day after Jan. 7,” but added, “I won’t turn them off and let them sit there, and I won’t go out in sub-zero temps to disassemble.”

It’s OK with Westborough (Massachusetts) Patch and Framingham (Massachusetts) Patch reader Donald if Kerri leaves her decorations up until the “4th of July.”

‘They Should Not Exist’

Often maligned blow-up displays got more of the same from our survey.

“They should not exist,” said Tinley Park (Illinois) Patch reader Carolyn.

“They should never go up,” said Newtown (Connecticut) Patch reader C.A. “They are tacky AF.”

Bernardsville-Bedminster (New Jersey) Patch reader X agreed, saying, “They shouldn’t go up in the first place.”

“ASAP,” said Annapolis (Maryland) Patch reader Pam.

“They should never go up,” Ridgefield (Connecticut) Patch reader Barbara concurred, “but if you have them, Dec. 26th.”

“The blow-ups should be taken down sooner” than other displays, because they are “too Xmas-y,” Smithtown (New York) Patch reader Donna said.

About Block Talk

Block Talk is an exclusive Patch series on neighborhood etiquette — and readers provide the answers. If you have a topic you’d like for us to consider, email beth.dalbey@patch.com with “Block Talk” as the subject line.

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