Couple Sets Up Christmas Decorations Before Going Into Labor & HOA Demands They Take Them Down


The Simonis front yard

It's officially that time of year when we start to debate whether or not it's acceptable to begin playing Christmas music. Or decorate the front yard. Or get giddy over everything holiday. Or all of the above. Depending on who you ask, it's either "totally normal" or "kind of crazy" to get into the holiday spirit before Thanksgiving arrives. But apparently, if you're a member of a certain homeowners association in Texas, the answer is B: Kind of crazy. WOAI reports that a family was recently ordered to take down their Christmas decorations by their HOA, after members felt it was "too soon" to put them  up.

  • The trouble arose inside a quiet subdivision known as Lakeside at Canyon Springs, which is in Lakeside, Texas. Population: 1,307.

    It's there that Nick and Claudia Simonis have been happily living for some time, and are now eagerly awaiting the arrival of a new baby. In fact, that baby is the reason why the couple set their Christmas decorations up on November 1.

    "I feel kind of heavy, so the earlier we can put out the decorations, the better," Claudia, who is eight months pregnant, told WOAI. "Because probably in two more weeks, I'm not going to be able to build all this."

    So, just like every year, they merrily took to their front yard, and set up an inflatable snowman and some reindeer. There was even an inflatable Santa hanging from a helicopter. The happy scene livened up their lawn and, they likely thought, added a bit of cheer to the neighborhood.

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  • That's why the couple was shocked to receive a letter on November 4, from their neighborhood HOA, Diamond Association Management & Consulting.

    It stated, in no uncertain terms, that the holiday decor had to go -- at least for now.

    “Maintenance -- Holiday Decorations Need To Be Removed,” the violation notice read. The family was then asked to "please remove the snowman until closer to the holiday season."

    (It's unclear whether the inspector didn't take issue with the reindeer and hanging Santa, or if it just wasn't noted on the violation.)

  • When reading the HOA note, Nick couldn't believe his eyes.

    "I was like, 'Wow, that's a first,'" he told the outlet. "I was angry, because there’s a reason why we're doing it."

    He was also understandably puzzled about when exactly was an "acceptable" time to put the decorations up, since the letter only suggested "closer to the holidays" but didn't note a date.

    "They didn't even clarify what day that is," said Nick.

    "I just found it crazy," Claudia added. "Especially that they didn’t give us a time. Like, when is the right time to put it?" 

  • The Simonises were so bothered by the letter's demands that they decided right then and there: They weren't taking down their holiday decorations.

    "We're not going to do it," shared Nick. "It's the Christmas spirit. We're not going to be forced by the HOA to take it down."

    Amazingly, their neighbors wholeheartedly agree -- and what's more, several are joining them by putting up "early" decorations of their own.

    "I don't think this should be an issue," the Simonises' neighbor, Charles Minton, told WOAI. "These are the holidays. This is what we do. We take care of our neighbors. That's what a neighborhood is about."

    He's gotten so PO'd about the whole thing, he's already protesting by putting some penguins and a large "Merry Christmas" ornament in his front yard.

    "We always abide by the rules and regulations," said Minton. "So, when we see it in black and white, there's no problem. But if it's not in black and white. Who's to say what's what?"
  • If there's any silver lining to all of this, it's that the Simonises are feeling the love and support of their neighbors like never before.

    But really, it's kind of crazy that they even had to rally around the couple, over something as silly as putting decorations up "too early." Sure, you could make the argument that putting up Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving has even hit might feel a bit like putting the cart before the horse, but get this: Studies have proven that putting up Christmas decorations early is actually good for you, since it can drum up nostalgic memories from childhood and bring on an overall mood boost. 

    If that's not a vote of confidence for early holiday decorating, I'm not sure what is. So go ahead -- set up those inflatable snow globes and decorate that Christmas tree in the front window to your heart's content. (Just don't be surprised if some Scrooge in your HOA comes knocking.)