Tips for a Peaceful Holiday Season in your Community
Tips for a Peaceful Holiday Season in Your Community
By Courtney Stewart
The holiday season is one of the most exciting times of the year, with many people gathering with friends and family and decorating for the upcoming celebrations. As a board member in your homeowners association (HOA), these months mark a time to reflect on all the successes of the year and reinvigorate your community with positive, forward-focused energy. While the holidays bring a flurry of activity, it’s necessary to keep the magic in the air by ensuring all is calm and bright. Here are some tips for promoting a peaceful holiday season in your community.
Communicate rules early on
Before homeowners start hanging lights, hosting parties, and decorating their yards, revisit your governing documents and remind residents about any new or established rules. Share decorating guidelines, parking restrictions, and crowd information in a notice, newsletter, and on the community website to help prevent violations.
Pay attention to the details
Take extra care to understand any applicable provisions of the governing documents and review all written materials carefully before they’re distributed. A misspelled name or misstatement can easily create doubt and confusion. If you need clarification, consult your community manager or association lawyer.
Share safety information
In addition to reminding homeowners about the rules, it’s a good idea to share information about how residents can practice safety while decorating their homes. You might include tips for hanging outdoor lights or decorating a mantle. Communicating valuable precautions shows you’re invested in the health and wellbeing of every homeowner—and the community.
Decorate community-shared facilities
Get everyone into the holiday spirit by decorating community-shared facilities. This is a great time to lead by example and ensure your association follows the same decoration guidelines set for residents. For added peace of mind, stick to your HOA budget and be sensitive to the type of decorations you select and how long they’re on display.
Engage homeowners in holiday fun
Help bring people together and build lasting bonds by hosting an event or competition that everyone can participate in. Whether it’s a decorating contest, cookie swap, or donation drive, you’ll notice the value in gathering the community for a wonderful time.
Be available for questions and concerns
Even though you may be busy during the holidays, make yourself accessible and responsive to homeowner concerns and questions. It might take some time to resolve a situation or answer a specific question, but immediately responding to the homeowner and letting them know that you’ve received their communication and are looking into the matter will help them feel acknowledged. If possible, include an approximate date when you’ll be able to provide additional information.
Think on the bright side
As a board member, it can be stressful to navigate through all the end-of-year to-dos and keep your HOA functioning well and homeowners happy during the holidays. Remember to pause and reconsider your options on what will help you be successful during this time. Make a list, set reminders, and enlist volunteers—it’s necessary to be action-oriented and decisive, but caring for yourself will make you a more confident and competent leader if, or when, tense situations arise.
How to Effectively Manage Conflict in Your Community
Keeping an association happy and peaceful takes effort, but eventually, conflicts will occur. It’s up to board members to diffuse situations and bring the community together instead of apart.
Courtney Stewart is a community manager with Evergreen Harvard Group, a leading provider of community management services. She can be reached via email at CStewart@evergreenmgt.com.