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Dear Urban Diplomat: what should I do with neighbours who still have their tacky Christmas decorations up?

Dear Urban Diplomat: what should I do with neighbours who still have their tacky Christmas decorations up?
(Image: Brian Costelloe)

Dear Urban Diplomat, Christmas 2013 is long gone, and yet the house on my corner remains festooned with yuletide paraphernalia: a giant Santa, an inflatable candy-cane archway and reindeer—plus, inexplicably, Cookie Monster, Big Bird and Snoopy figurines. The scene looks like some hillbilly carnival and is no small source of agitation for my wife and me. I want to tell these purveyors of bad taste to pack it up. How should I do it, and is there some bylaw with which I can arm myself?

—Ixnay on the Xmas Stuff Already, Beach Triangle

Trailer trash infractions like overgrown weeds, piles of garbage, and cars up on blocks are prohibited. Past-due holiday displays are not. So you’ll have to do without the long arm of a bylaw to bolster your case. But here’s what I think: your neighbour’s lawn ornamentation, no matter how tacky, tardy or ­unseasonal, is none of your business. For one thing, you don’t know the whole story. Maybe someone’s too sick to do the disassembling. For another, ­mandating good taste is bad manners. How would you react if a cabal of neighbours knocked on your door to whinge about your choice of paint colour or shrubbery selection? All you can do is grin and bear it—and pray they don’t add a giant illuminated crucifix come Easter.

Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at urbandiplomat@torontolife.com

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