The holiday season is a time for joy, togetherness, and celebration. For many communities, the HOA plays a crucial role in creating a festive and welcoming atmosphere during this time of year. While a good amount of holiday cheer comes from a community’s residents themselves, there are several things your HOA board can do to ensure that your community is ready to embrace the holiday spirit and help everyone celebrate in a safe, inclusive, and responsible way. Here are a few best practices and fun ideas to inspire your HOA board this holiday season.
Plan (and budget) ahead.
One of the first steps you’ll want to take to prepare your community for the holidays is to establish a well thought out plan and budget. This ensures that your HOA can organize various activities and initiatives without overspending. Make a list of everything your HOA plans to do for the holidays (decorations, events, contests, etc.). Create a detailed budget that outlines expenses for all of these, as well as for any necessary maintenance or repairs. By planning and budgeting in advance, you can avoid last-minute stress and financial strain.
Ask yourself these questions to help plan effectively:
- What did we do last year that worked well (or not so well)?
- What have we seen other communities do that we would like to try, and is that in the budget for this year?
- What decorations do we have that need to be repaired or replaced?
- What community holiday events would we like to host? Can we make it happen this year, or should we look ahead to next year?
- What is our budget for the holidays this year? How much of it is already spoken for?
Review community rules (and communicate them).
What rules does your community have in regard to holiday decor? Make sure your board is familiar with them, and more importantly, make sure your homeowners are too. This could include things like:
- Acceptable dates for yard displays (e.g. Not before [date] or after [date])
- Regulations about noise-emitting decorations
- Regulations about flashing lights
- Rules about inflatable decor (related to appearance and safety)
- Reasonable hours to turn holiday light displays on and off
Decorate common areas.
Everyone loves holiday decor! A well-decorated neighborhood can instantly lift residents’ spirits during the holiday season. Consider organizing a decorating committee or enlisting the help of volunteers to adorn common areas like entrance gates, community centers, and parks. Use string lights, wreaths, and garlands to create a festive and inviting atmosphere.
As you plan for communal decorations, keep these things in mind:
- Make sure you prioritize safety and energy efficiency when selecting decorations.
- Take your community’s layout and space restrictions into account.
- Be mindful. Remember that decorations should not appear to favor one religion over another.
- Follow all community rules and regulations regarding display dates and times, as well assize and noise restrictions.
- Consider investing in timed lighting systems that will turn the lights on and off automatically.
Hold a holiday lighting contest.
One fantastic way to get homeowners involved in holiday preparations is to hold a holiday lighting contest. Encourage residents to decorate their homes with colorful lights, festive displays, lawn ornaments, and more. Then, have a panel of judges select the best-decorated homes in various categories (such as “Most Creative,” “Brightest Display,” or “Most Classic”), and award small prizes to the winners (like bags of candy, gift cards to local restaurants, or a sign to display in their yard). This fun competition not only brings residents together, but also turns your community into a dazzling holiday spectacle.
Host community events.
Holiday events provide an opportunity for residents to come together and celebrate the season. Organize gatherings like tree lighting ceremonies, caroling nights, or holiday markets within your community. Try having some events that are family-friendly or catered toward children, and others that are for adults only. These events can create lasting memories and foster a sense of belonging among residents. You can even partner with local businesses or invite vendors to participate, heightening the sense of community and giving people an opportunity to meet and get to know their neighbors.
Some more tips for hosting an incredible community party include:
- Avoid actual holidays. Don’t host anything on Christmas Day, for example.
- Plan ahead and spread the word. The more notice residents have, the more people will show up.
- Put someone in charge. A go-to leader will make all the difference in making sure no detail is forgotten.
- Keep it simple. Remember: the ultimate goal is to get your community together! Keep things fun and simple and it will be more enjoyable for everyone.
- Be inclusive. Center the event around the season in general, rather than just one particular holiday.
Promote acts of kindness.
The holidays are ultimately a time for giving and spreading joy. Encourage residents to engage in acts of kindness within the community. Establish programs like “Adopt-a-Neighbor” where neighbors can help one another with tasks like yard work, wrapping gifts, or grocery shopping for those in need. Promote volunteer opportunities at local charities, or organize donation drives for food, clothing, or toys for less fortunate members of your community. The holiday spirit will be alive in your community if you use this season as an opportunity to give back and pay it forward.
Clear and timely communication is key all year long, and the holiday season is no exception. Keep residents informed about the holiday schedule, upcoming events, and any important updates through newsletters, emails, or social media. Additionally, establish a feedback system so that residents can provide suggestions or report any issues. Make sure residents are also informed of any changes in your HOAs operating hours.
Encourage energy efficiency.
While holiday lighting and decorations are a beautiful tradition, they can also lead to increased energy consumption. Encourage residents to use energy-efficient lighting options such as LED lights and timers to reduce electricity costs and environmental impact. HOAs can also organize workshops or distribute informational materials on eco-friendly holiday decorating.
Follow safety measures.
Safety should always be a top priority, and especially during the holiday season. Ensure that common areas are well-lit and secure. Make sure that wires and cables are cleared from walkways, and do not overload power outlets. If winter weather affects your community, be sure that all roads, sidewalks, and pathways are properly maintained.
Communicate safety tips to residents, including fire prevention measures, proper storage of holiday decorations, and safety guidelines for outdoor decorations (tethering, size restrictions, etc.). You may also want to coordinate with local law enforcement to enhance security in your community during the holidays.
The holidays are a time for coming together and celebrating community spirit. HOAs can play a pivotal role in fostering a sense of unity and belonging among residents by creating a community atmosphere that brings people together and encourages social connections. By following these tips, HOAs can help make the holiday season a safe, fun, and magical time for all. For more helpful HOA management tips be sure to visit our blog, or contact us today to get a free HOA management quote for your community.