A Texas family said they were "shocked and angered" after they received a letter demanding they take down their Christmas decorations.
Claudia and Nick Simonis, who live in San Antonio, set up a small tree, some lights and an inflatable, glowing snowman on Nov. 1, CNN reported. Three days later, the couple got a letter from their homeowners association.
"We're in the Christmas spirit just like anybody else," Nick Simonis told CNN. "We love the holidays, and my wife is very active in it."
The letter, which came from Diamond Association Management & Consulting, the group responsible for the Simonis' neighborhood, told the family they needed to remove their decorations — specifically citing their illuminated snowman — until "closer to the holiday season."
There was no specific timeline mentioned in the message, the couple told CNN. Not only were they unsure of when they were allowed to begin decorating again, but the Simonises also said they weren't aware of a rule forbidding "early" holiday lights.
"I felt shocked and angered," Nick told CNN. "The HOA has so much time on their hands."
The couple told CNN they actually decorated early for a largely practical reason. Claudia is currently eight months pregnant, and her due date is set for Christmas day.
"We just wanted to get everything set up, so that way, we can relax," Nick Simonis said. "If the baby comes early, we don't have to worry about it."
It's unclear yet how the homeowners association will respond to the Simosies outrage, as the couple said they had not read the letter until earlier this week. For their part, the family said they do not plan to remove their decorations.
"I just found it crazy," Claudia told WOAI-TV. "Especially that they didn’t give us a time. Like, when is the right time to put [up decorations]?"
Other neighbors have also weighed in on the controversy. Charles Minton, who's already put up a large ornament and a few holiday-themed penguins in his front yard, told WOAI he did not think the lights should have been an issue.
"These are the holidays. This is what we do," Minton said. "We take care of our neighbors. That's what a neighborhood is about."
Minton did add, however, that many in the neighborhood try their best to obey the association's rules. The neighborhood does have a rule as to when decorations should go down — within 10 days after Christmas — but it did not specify when lights can start going up.
"We always abide by the rules and regulations," Minton told WOAI. "So, when we see it in black and white, there's no problem. But if it's not in black and white. Who's to say what's what?"