As 1 of only 4 folks left in town during last week’s school vacation, I had the roads to myself.
Enjoying the rare opportunity to look around at something other than cars zooming in and out of driveways, drivers dyeing their hair while writing novels on iPhones, and joggers using the center stripes as their own personal tracks, I noticed something odd: A lot of Westporters don’t know it’s almost March.
The reason I know this is because their Christmas wreaths, pine cones and whatnot still decorate their front doors, windows and fences.
It’s a good thing they don’t live in Aurora, Illinois.
Government officials there — where apparently even less happens than here — are taking action against wreath vagrants. An ordinance limits outdoor seasonal displays to 60 days before and after the holidays — and that time is almost up. Violators will be fined $50.
Since the law was enacted in 2006, the city has issued 383 citations. Bah, humbug!
Though the ordinance “absolutely” raises free speech issues, a constitutional law professor says, Aurora has not faced any legal challenges.
What are the odds that — if Westport passed a similar law — it would sit, quiet as a partridge in a pear tree, on the books?
And that if 383 citations were handed out, not 1 person would sue?
That sound you just heard is hundreds of Westport husbands, telling their wives to stop nagging. The wreaths will stay up till Easter. Or Memorial Day. Hell, maybe longer.
Why? Because they can.
Dan, It’s almost tempting to get a law in place for Westport just to give us all something to get stirred up over now that bags, dogs and roosters are passe. Not only would we rail about personal property rights, BUT we could also have a wonderful semantic discussion about what constitutes an outlawed wreath. How about all those generic, “country” wreaths that change with the seasons? Is an evergreen wreath with no decoration considered holiday or seasonal? Wouldn’t the next step be to take away our rights to have giant, inflatable spiders on our roofs from October to December? Oh the horror! Perhaps we should send a rabble rouser group to Aurora to stir them up a bit. Thanks, Dan, this was great!
Agreed. If I were the Easter Bunny, I’d be plenty worried.
I used to wonder why people leave up their Christmas decorations for so long. (Am I ini violation of some law for not calling them holiday decorations?) Anyhow, in my middle age, it is no longer perplexing. With such a winter season that stretches into April, who cares if there are festive touches to brighten the drab days?
Until the troops are all home, a Christmas light shines brightly in my window. Unfortunately, it will stay there well past spring.
Guilty as charged, I prefer the Vermont tradition of keeping the wreath up ’til Easter, although it starts turning in late March.
I actually live in Aurora, and didn’t know about the ordinance until this week. Luckily, I’ve already taken down the swags and bows on the carriage lamps, and I’m married to the grinch who refuses to decorate the outside of the house. BUT I still have an evergreen wreath at the door, AND my Christmas tree is still up. It will come down tomorrow, but not because of the ordinance. I’ve enjoyed that tree all through February, and now I’m ready to let it go. I understand the underlying feeling about how tacky Christmas decorations look months after the holiday, but I think our government has more important things to be doing than being decoration police.
Funny, I live in the Chicago suburbs and work in the western burbs a couple day a week. I hadn’t heard about Aurora’s ordinance.
Over the past couple of years I’ve noticed that seasonal decorations here are staying up longer. Several houses on my block in Evanston, a northern suburb of Chicago, are still lit as of this week. The lights and wreathes have become winter-long decorations.
Evanston is an ordinance-crazed city, intrusive in ways that would be unimaginable in Westport. Hope they haven’t gotten wind the of the Aurora rule. I kind of like the extended display season.
Oh, and the city of Chicago keeps the trees on Michigan avenue lit through the winter. It’s so cold, they’ll do anything to attract a few extra evening visitors.
lets do it in westport
That’s funny because I’ve noticed the same thing. I’ve seen Christmas lights up on condo balconies actually still being lit up and I saw huge Christmas bulbs in a tree just this morning.