4 Ways to Avoid a Lawsuit While Spreading Holiday Cheer

Crime, News

It’s Christmas party season, which means, lights, parties, music, and generally merry festivities. It can also be a stressful time, which means you or your neighbors could be particularly on-edge. Here are a few tips for avoiding stepping on your neighbors’ toes while you celebrate the season.

Check Before You Deck the Halls

Especially if your utilities are included in your rent, you should check with the owner of the property you live on before running the electric bill through the roof with lights.  Ask property managers before decorating; drawing or inscribing a message, slogan, sign, or symbol that is made on any public or private building, structure, or surface, except the ground, and that is made without permission of the owner could be considered criminal damage in some states. Your landlord might be particular about keeping up appearances (especially if you live in a complex), so get decorations approved beforehand to avoid a dispute.

Religious displays are typically legal on private property, but you may want to think twice before erecting a nativity scene in a park or other public place. Check with your city before making a decision on public religious displays.


Serving alcohol to guests puts you at risk.  To avoid this liability, hire a bartender and/or let too-tipsy guests crash on your couch. Better yet, avoid alcohol altogether when guests are involved, unless you’re dining out together. Especially be wary of alcohol at work parties, where poor judgment induced by drinking could lead to a sexual harassment problem or two.

Noisy Neighbors

Noise is probably the number-one complaint between neighbors, especially in apartment complexes. Before you or install musical Christmas lights or go out caroling, remember to be courteous to your neighbors.  Also be aware of any local noise ordinance that you may be in jeopardy of violating while you make merry.

Stay Safe

Be aware of seasonal safety hazards, lest your chestnuts roasting on an open fire should cause a fire.  Be careful of candles and Christmas lights (trees tend to be flammable), lest you should spread Christmas cheer across the neighborhood in the form of a wildfire.

Common sense and respect for your neighbors will help Christmas go more smoothly this year.  Be aware of rules regarding your workplace, city, and neighborhood, and your holiday plans are less likely to go awry.