As it turns out, my HOA is anti-Lent-lights

March 19, 2012 | 33 comments

Some of you were confused by my reference to Lent lights last week. So is my Homeowners Association.  If anyone needs me, I will be filing a lawsuit on behalf of Citizens for Religious Freedom to Make Up Liturgical Traditions!!!!

Or maybe I’ll just take them down.

(In case there are any holy people left who still read this blog, I encourage you to skip this mess and head over to NCR, where I am talking about deeper unity with Christ through sacrifice today.)


  1. Christina

    This is why HOAs are evil. You could do a return letter stating that they are for lent (which is why they are unlit) and state that they will be coming down after Easter.

  2. Michelle Potter

    Looks to me like your HOA is mistaken, and you are not in violation of their policy. The policy states that you can’t have holiday decorations visible after the holiday, but the holiday for which you decorated — Lent — is still ongoing. Maybe a little explanation would clear things up.

    • Jennifer G.

      I’m sorry, that’s funny though! Sometimes I actually wish we had an HOA. Our neighbors truly have their Christmas lights still up from Xmas 2010!

      • Jennifer G.

        Oopps, I didn’t to post in reply to this comment! Sorry for the randomness!

    • Linda

      Good one, Michelle!

  3. Kelly

    Around here they don’t count as “in view” unless you’re still turning them on. A lot of people wait until spring to get out and take them down. I guess being in Texas you’re weather is a little more conducive to immediately taking them down, though.

  4. Beth Anne @ The Catholic Couponer Blog

    I guess that means that you aren’t allowed to keep your xmas lights on your house year round. I didn’t realize they were up outside too 🙂 funtimes GL

  5. elizabethe

    Love it! I once got a letter saying my grass was too long. I didn’t actually own the house, I was just renting; but the owner was a friend and didn’t live in the city so it was my responsibility.

    I think we actually just ignored it and then they came and mowed the grass themselves.

  6. Pam F

    Seems people are skipping over the “made up” part in your post. I personally think your sense of humor is wonderful! Just amazed at how many people believed there is such a thing as “Lent lights” maybe you should look into selling bridges.

    • elizabethe

      Uh, I think your sarcasm meter is a little off.

  7. Lisa Schmidt

    Jen, for the love of all homeowners frustrated by their HOAs (me, me!), heed the advice of your enlightened readers above and take a stand! Oh what fun it would be to read about here on these pages. 🙂

  8. Elizabeth M

    Skipping the whole “Lent Lights” discussion, I have to wonder, when does the “after the holiday” criteria kick in?

    I was always irritated when our town said that Christmas trees had to be Curbside by January 2nd! That is NOT the end of Christmas.

    So it made me wonder — do they determine an acceptable start and end time for holidays?

    • Lindsey


      And, what about those homes who put all their Christmas stuff up right after Halloween, or maybe closer to Thanksgiving? Why aren’t they threatened with letters stating that their Christmas decorations are in view “prior to the holiday?”

  9. Tiffany

    SeriouslyI I once had a temp gig with a property mgmt. company and part of my duties was filing the paper copies of missives being fired back and forth between the HOA and residents. And, WOW. I must urge everyone not to become *one of those* who exchange airtight legal defenses or excoriations of anyone’s inflatable Amercian flag. Fourth level of Hell or something. ; / We’re doing the electric lights fast with you, because of you, too Jen! Thanks.

  10. priest's wife

    oh yes- the lovely HOA- I just got a letter, fining me $50 for the evergreen wreath on my door.

    • Lindsey

      Why do we allow ourselves to be policed by these busybody people, and let management companies charge us what they please? I’m including myself in this; I live in an older neighborhood, homes that are basically starter homes. This is not an elegant, classy, private gated community. It’s just hard-working people who commute and rarely have time to put lots of work into beautification projects. The reason we get bothered by the HOA more than maybe our neighbors is our lawn. We are one of the only houses on our street who doesn’t hire a lawn service, but I just can’t see paying an extra 80-100 a month for someone to mow our little bitty lot! We have people to feed and bills to pay! Anyway, I hate the fact that, if I want to make a change in the situation, I have to commit to becoming a busybody myself. I have to “get involved” and start attending the HOA meetings (on a night that my husband works, so it’s really impossible) in order to reign in any power-hungry neighbors who want to start controlling the way people live in the neighborhood. Since I’ve never been to a monthly meeting, we had no warning that our deed restrictions were in danger of being amended. There was no announcement of a vote or absentee vote or anything. They decided (I guess at the meeting) and made it official that we are now restricted to only 3 household pets (no clarifying language to explain whether this includes fish in a tank, etc). We live outside a city limit, and I really don’t see how it’s the HOA’s jurisdiction or business at all how many pets I have, as long as I’m not breaking any state or county laws, or hurting any animals or people.

      Bah on HOAs.

      • TRS

        Well, yes the HOA can be a PITA. And I don’t like the idea of HOAs in a neighborhood of single family dwellings – but in my experience in a 22 unit building, an HOA is a must, just to get people to pay their dues/ pay bills, handle repairs and make sure the roof doesn’t cave in!!!

        And yes, I served on our HOA board for the first 6 years.

        I have no problem with Jennifer’s Lent Lights… and I know she’s being tongue-in-cheek. But in circumstances you describe…. yes, you have to mow your lawn… and no your 3+ pets are not delightful to anyone but you! Just because you may be able to tune out their yapping because you’re busy with your delightful children, doesn’t mean that the day-sleeper living behind you can tune them out while they’re trying to rest.

        Ugh… I once decided to take a sick day because my cold didn’t allow me to sleep for more than 1.5 hours the night before — and then couldn’t sleep because of all the dogs and tool-related projects in the neighborhood. Lesson learned, sleep at work… and only use a precious PTO day as a sick day if I can also afford to go to a hotel and rest!!!

  11. Barbara

    One more reason I’m glad we live in the boonies. It’s live and let live around here.

  12. Eva

    Wow. That would make me start to pin random stuff to my house and property just to get attention. And hunt down totally obscure holidays to celebrate.
    Honestly, that letter has spiked my blood pressure! Im glad I live in the middle of no-where at the end of the world…

  13. Michael

    Well, obviously their definition of holidays is too narrow. Prejudice, I say! 😉

  14. Becky

    Jennifer, did you proof read your post? Or did you just let spell check do it? It’s not the funniest typo I have seen, but don’t correct it. It’s funny enough.

  15. Marian

    Look on the bright side: You live in a neighborhood classy enough to care! Anti-lent, but classy : ) Year-round Christmas lights don’t seem to faze anyone around here.

  16. suburbancorrespondent

    Fascists! Add some bunnies and tell them it’s for Easter.

  17. Jen G

    My HOA is also a little over-zealous. I got a note one year that I needed to change out the mulch in my front beds, about 4 months after I’d just put in new mulch. I found out after a few phone calls that we pay the management company for someone to ride around the neighborhood every month to police the yard maintenance…in a community of around 200 or more homes. I can appreciate wanting to keep the yards looking neat, but honestly!

  18. Linda

    Here in New Hampshire, Christmas lights often stay up year-round, and Christmas wreaths come down just before Easter. HOA’s are of the devil…

    • aardvark

      Hubby says we can live anywhere I want…I get to pick the house, furniture…but FORBIDS us EVER living in an HOA! My sister and family were fined severely for not painting (the house didn’t need it, but the RULES demanded painting every x yrs regardless). They were nearly bankrupt at the time due to medical bills. No appeal.

  19. Care

    My festive lights are on both the front porch and back deck as we speak. Feliz Navidad! It’s Christmas somewhere, so take a hike, HO busybodies. Y’all have waaaaay too much time on your hands. Talk about majoring in the minors. To each his own out here among the Frozen Chosen in South Dakota. Love it!!!

  20. M. Swift

    I think its very necessary and logical to challenge the HOA. Their initial reasons for creating such a team of regulators/regulations is based on trying to keep a respectable harmony of appearance in the neighborhood; so, not leaving a garbage junkyard out in your driveway, or front yard….or like old nasty couches on the front porch step with holes in them….or broken shingles, hanging off the house, disproportionate sized antennas, laundry lines fron window to house displaying intimate and oversized undergarb….the like. We are hear talking about Lenten lights that are neatly displayed(im assuming) and that do not even get to be turned on in the evening. The HOA is like a government that little by little takes over with ridiculous rules/laws, which were once rooted in rational ones. So I would definitely stand up for simple reason, and for your RELIGIOUS FREEDOM!!!

    : )

  21. Shalani

    HOA consider different thing to made a huge decision, I think even a kind of resolution is not approved for such reasonable doubt they been seen that this couldn’t be good after all…

  22. Lisa

    great idea! purple lights all over the yard. but they need to be turned on at night.

  23. Tracy96

    Great kind of sharing I want to try this kind of lights sounds nice and very to use..It has a lot of nice color..

  24. aardvark

    Thank you ALL. I have a nasty migraine and really needed the laff.

Connect With Me On Social Media or Explore My Site



The "THIS IS JEN" podcast is on Facebook & all podcast apps


- Subscribe on iTunes or Google Play (audio)

- Get weekly bonus episodes on Patreon

- Sign up for my email list to be the first
to know about new tour dates