Stop Ruining My Day and Turn the Lights Out

How do you tell your neighbors to take down their holiday lights?


A man travels with his pregnant wife in the middle of winter. It's cold and they're trying to find their way, and if it wasn't for that light in the sky they'd be lost.

In this case we're not talking about a star, we're talking about my neighbor's Christmas lights.

It's over. The radio stations have stopped playing Jingle Bell Rock, the stores have moved on to Valentine's Day and even my kids have stopped giving me boxes of toys to open. So why can't my neighbors, and a few others, take down their Christmas lights?

It's irritating. Every time I drive past those bright lights they remind me that the fun part of the season has ended, that we're in for a few months of cold and snow. There's nothing festive about scraping off the windows of your car.

Why can't these people realize that the rest of us have moved on? We're now prepared to be miserable. They're probably over there right now listening to Bing Crosby, drinking eggnog and cuddling by the fire. Disgusting. It's January. The fun has ended. It's time to stop smiling.

So I'm starting to come up with a plan. If by Feb. 1 those lights aren't at least unplugged I think I need to take action.

Do I unplug them myself? Maybe unscrew one bulb and see if a whole strand goes out? Wait until they're gone and take them down for them?

Or do I dare walk over there and ask them politely to stop ruining my day with their festival of lights?

How would you handle such a travesty? And what's the very latest date they should be allowed to keep their lights up?

Bill January 12, 2012 at 10:20 PM
How about you all just keep your nosey asses out of other peoples business Stop thinking it's your job to police other people - being just like you will not make them better people.
Ellen January 13, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Maybe you should just light them back up. They look more apppropriate now with some snow to go with them.
Ellen January 13, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Take guitar lessons, electric of course. If they are leaving that early they must be trying to sleep around midnight. Open your windows, turn up the sound, and play the guitar as loud as you can. But stop playing just before the police arrive and pretend they woke you up when they bang on your door. :-)
Ellen January 13, 2012 at 01:57 AM
Seriously, I've been thinking about inventing and selling sound-proof sleeping chambers. Of course this is because I have a narcissitic guitar- playing neighbor who couldn't care less about how his noise effects anyone else. :-( Only problem is I lack funding. lol
Ellen January 13, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Maybe it would help if we stopped calling them Christmas lights and started calling them Winter Holiday lights. Of course, that gets other groups upset cuz they think you're declaring war on Christmas. Oh well...
Ellen January 13, 2012 at 02:07 AM
Love it!!!
Ellen January 13, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Since you complained to him he is probably doing it on purpose now. That's how narcissists are.
Ellen January 13, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Seems Bill is one of those narcissists of which I speak.
Grammar Police January 13, 2012 at 08:12 AM
If the BMW sounds like a Harley because of a modification to (or lack of) a muffler...your local police can cite this car under Illinois state law (see below). It's usually a case of the squeaky wheel gets the grease...so call your local police department and request that they begin to ticket this neighbor, maybe he'll get the message. "(625 ILCS 5/12‑602) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 12‑602) Sec. 12‑602. Mufflers, prevention of noise. Every motor vehicle driven or operated upon the highways of this State shall at all times be equipped with an adequate muffler or exhaust system in constant operation and properly maintained to prevent any excessive or unusual noise. No such muffler or exhaust system shall be equipped with a cutout, bypass or similar device. No person shall modify the exhaust system of a motor vehicle in a manner which will amplify or increase the noise of such vehicle above that emitted by the muffler originally installed on the vehicle, and such original muffler shall comply with all the requirements of this Section."
Marie January 13, 2012 at 12:30 PM
This is the most ridiculous, waste of time article ever! If anyone is bothered by their neighbors Christmas lights they really need to "Get a Life"! There are much worst things to worry over than leftover Christmas lights. What happened to "love your neighbor"????
Craig Doherty January 13, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Their dad is clueless. I've had BMWs and they should be fast but never annoyingly loud unless you buy a junk one without a muffler or you install an after-market muffler whose main purpose is to sound like you have a rusty old muffler, but those are much more common on Hondas with lots of fake hood scoops, useless spoilers and neon lights.
Johny January 13, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Winter's dark and dreary ..... keep the lights up and on!! (just take Santa down)
Tball January 13, 2012 at 01:40 PM
But it got our attention and we posted. And to the people with the lousy neighbors with the bmw, keep on it. Spring and summer will be here and things will become more miserable for your sleep. Good luck. Shame neighbors like that don't live away from the good folks.
Barbara January 13, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Christmas (the whole reason for christmas lights) isnt officially over until 3 Kings Day, which was Monday, January 6th. (Jesus was born, it took 12 days for the 3 Kings to arrive, etc) So, many people leave up the decorations until after that day. Since it fell on a Monday, maybe they are waiting for the weekend to take them down.
Tball January 13, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Grammar police, that is interesting! I hope the neighbor to the bmw prints that off and hands it to the Grayslake police when they are called. Bmws should never be loud. It sounds like the neighbor is disrespectful to begin with. Perhaps Grayslake police can persuade the owner to get the old car in check with the laws. I liked this article actually. It gave thought to why people do things. Meaning the lights. As I headed home last night, I took note of Christmas lights still up. I have to admit they were really something to see in the blizzard.
Pmint January 13, 2012 at 03:21 PM
I leave my lights up precisely because January is so gloomy! I leave for work in the dark and get home in the dark - the lights are a small cheerful moment in an otherwise gray day.
Ellen January 13, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Someone has no sense of humor. Must be the winter dulldrums. Perhaps some cheerie Winter Holiday lights would brighten your mood?
Ellen January 13, 2012 at 06:25 PM
That explains the mangers. Don't think "Christmas" lights / decorations have anything to do with Jesus.
Anne Onomous January 13, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Even WORSE are the idiots driving around STILL with the fake antlers and Rudolph Red Noses on their minivans. Ughhhh, soccer moms!
Ellen January 13, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Sounds a tad sad. But, if we would just call them Winter Lights instead of Christmas lights, more people would bother to put them up and everyone could leave them up - unless, of course they are so bright they keep ppl from sleeping. :-)
Tim Froehlig January 13, 2012 at 09:55 PM
There are noise pollution laws in Illinois, but they are supposed to be enforced by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, as I recall from back in 2001 covering the Libertyville Indeck Peaker Power Plant hearings. Trouble is, there are only a handful of IEPA workers to enforce this throughout the entire state. I forget how many decibels noise had to be below and what hours the laws stated, but I do recall there were laws on the books that weren't just local ordinances. But as long as the decorations aren't noisy or affecting the quality of someone's life in their own home, I think people should be allowed to decorate their homes any way they choose. They pay for their house, it's their property, and with all the taxes homeowners shell out, it should be their right to decorate their homes in July if they choose. Just my opinion.
Suze January 13, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Several years ago a neighbors son was using an old truck without any muffler at all that I could detect. He left for work around 5:30, waking me and I am sure his nearer neighbors. I checked the Illinois laws about vehicle noise levels then called the sheriff's department (I live in unincorporated Kane County). It took a couple of days but early one morning I heard a lot of commotion outside: it was the officers ticketing the son not for noise, but for using plates that came from another old truck sitting in the driveway that no longer ran. Neither truck could be used and that was the end of the noise problem. One way or another!
Tball January 14, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Ted, what would you do with the bmw neighbor? If he was your neighbor and waking your children at 4:25 AM?
Jan January 14, 2012 at 03:15 AM
RE The BMW idiot. Just call the police. There are ordinances about excessive noise. In Libertyville Section 15-4 of the Municipal Code, section 8 prohibits "All loud and discordant noises or vibrations of any kind between 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m".
Donny January 14, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Everyone needs to mind their own business. I would remind them of that politely. Even the loudest of cars, movers, leaf blowers, etc. should not sound through a well constructed home that consists of brick to reflect sound, R-36 insulation, and low e glass windows.
Anne Onomous January 15, 2012 at 12:07 AM
HOGWASH! Anyone with any sort of common sense (rare these days!) should be cognizant of the fact they are creating a possible nuisance to others and act accordingly and not like self centered bozos! We had some jerk install a basketball hoop within feet of our master bedroom window and we listened to that thing morning, noon and night with no regard for anyone's peace. While people have a right to do things on their property to get stuff done, OTHERS have a right to peace and quiet within reason. Perhaps we should have built a moat for solicitors too!
Skip January 19, 2012 at 04:18 PM
What a great article. I really like the idea of singing carols on the front porch of those who just can't seem to get around to taking down the lights. On the other hand, Christmas is my favorite holiday (and a good reminder of why we celebrate the true meaning of the holiday), so I'm not terribly offended by seeing Christmas lights in January.
Debbie January 25, 2012 at 09:29 PM
My neighbor still has his lights up. Any advice now? It's almost February!!!!
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Alex Chlen March 05, 2014 at 01:21 AM
what a stupid person wrote this?! i hope this isnt a real story. i would love to see those lights even in july, doesnt matter to me. obviously this person has some mental issues. the best way to deal with is shoot urself in the head or just go the psychiatrist.


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