It’s the Holiday season and I’m all into the spirit of things, but I’m not sure how to deal with a neighbour who has decorated his house so much that it’s actually interfering with my life. It’s so bright it shines through my window at night and I can’t sleep. I think I’ll have to buy blackout curtains and I don’t think that’s right. What should I do?
Blinded by the Light
Thanks for your message - this might be an issue impacting a few people at this particular time of year. It seems that you have mentioned one of the options in order to solve the problem. You could purchase some curtains and put up with the lights for the next few months in order to be able to function. Another option might be to approach your neighbour and ask if the lights could be put off earlier at night – perhaps they could be placed on a timer so that they could go off at a reasonable time and you could still get to sleep when you need to. You could approach your neighbour in a gentle way with a note in the mailbox asking him/her to please speak with you or by a phone call or in person if you have a good relationship with them and can approach them in a very non-threatening way. It’s important to keep your language positive and that you request their help. If you start making demands and have a negative, complaining tone it could result in a long future of tension between the two of you, which could be avoided. If you keep in mind and stay focused that your neighbour is simply trying to be festive and is trying to enjoy the spirit of the season, it might help you remain positive and non-threatening during your conversation. You might use language like, “I love how you have great holiday spirit but was hoping to share with you that I’m having some trouble sleeping at night because of how the lights glows into my home at night…” or something to that effect. Just keep reminding yourself that they are not doing this to deliberately make your life a challenge.
It’s a real consideration when putting lights up because it not only interferes with the neighbours and the lighting issues in their homes, but it also increases the light pollution that makes it very difficult to star gaze for the community that many people do as a pastime. Some people have extravagant light and music displays and considering how close homes are built to each other nowadays, making sure all is ok with your neighbours in advance might help to alleviate neighbour fall-out and dissatisfaction in your community.
Good luck with your neighbour and let us know what you decide to do.
“For a community to be whole and healthy, it must be based on people's love and concern for each other.”
-- Millard Fuller