Residents in the Homestead North subdivision are brightening spirits during the COVID-19 outbreak by putting up Christmas lights in their front yards.
“The Christmas lights always give people hope,” said HOA board member Andrew Harrison. “It’s something you can do that all your neighbors can see easily.”
It took the homeowners’ association board of directors five days from ideation to approval of allowing residents to hang holiday lights on their homes, a decision made Wednesday.
According to Harrison, secretary and board member of the Homestead North HOA, the idea came from a member of the board after seeing an article detailing holiday lights in public places that had since closed due to COVID-19 precautions.
Homestead residents received an email from the HOA board, detailing the initiative to hang lights as “An Act of Solidarity.”
“This small act is a statement of support for all those who have been impacted by COVID-19 and to show our solidarity in overcoming it,” the email read.
Sarah Watson, a Homestead North resident, said it’s the children of the neighborhood who benefit the most.
“I think it’s such a good idea, just to be able to go walk around, if it’s warm enough, or drive around, get out of the house, all while being safe and following the CDC guidelines,” Watson said.
With an 18-year-old, a 16-year-old, and a 3-month-old child at home, Watson said the family has experienced frustration
and concern amid the COVID-19 outbreak, with potentially missing a graduation ceremony and making sure her infant isn’t exposed to the virus.
As the family navigates changes in their daily routines, the lights have provided “something to smile about,” Watson said.
Derick Fröm has been a Maricopa resident for two and a half years. He and his wife Cortney have five children from ages 2 to 11.
Fröm said he would love to see more families participate in hanging up lights.
“It would be nice to see more kids out playing,” Fröm said. “We would love to see more people do it.”
Cortney Fröm said her children love being outside, and the lights are a way to enjoy the outdoors while practicing social distancing.
“I like decorating. The kids love it,” Cortney said, “and people have told us, it’s nice turning the corner and seeing the lights up.”
While children can benefit from seeing the lights, neighbors of all ages are seeing additional positive effects of the holiday lights appearing during a social distancing period.
Neighbors Kevin McCrary and Sumer Moriarity have both experienced a growing sense of community in their neighborhood.
“You can see your neighbor, and you’re both social distancing, but you can say, ‘hi,’ if you’re putting up lights or working in your front yard or doing something,” Moriarity said. “It’s a way to stay in contact with people without being too close.”
McCrary, a senior resident down the street from Moriarity, said his neighbors check up on each other frequently during an uncertain time.
“It’s a way to bring people by the house and talk to us at a safe distance. I think it’s just really trying to bring the neighbors closer together,” McCrary said. “My neighbors have offered to pick things up while on Costco runs, you can see it on Facebook, there are a lot of people that are pulling together and really trying to help each other.”
Harrison said he would like to see more residents of the neighborhood participate in hanging their lights. A father of two young children, Jack, 8, and Oliver, 2, Harrison said he has seen children playing in the streets and their front yards more often now that children are home for most of the day.
“I feel like I’m back in the Midwest again,” Harrison said, “where everybody plays outside, knows their neighbors and helps each other.”
The Homestead North HOA board approved light decorations through May 31.