MANY people complain that ours is an over-legislated...


February 24, 1993

MANY people complain that ours is an over-legislated, over-regulated society. Still, if there aren't any major objections, we'd like to propose one more law: namely, a ban on the displaying of Christmas decorations after a certain date.

The punishment? A fine of $100 to be paid to a local charity, and/or 100 hours of forced listening to a Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme Christmas album.

The idea comes to mind whenever we see front doors decked with wreaths or fully-trimmed Christmas trees blinking through living room windows, and it's a month or more after Santa, Rudolph and company have made their rounds.

Private individuals aren't the only culprits. On Valentine's Day, Fox Chevrolet in Timonium still had "Season's Greetings" painted on its showroom window in big green letters. Granted, it might be cheaper and more convenient to leave the letters on all year, until Christmas comes around again. But not even the Yuletide spirit is immune to wearing out its welcome.

So, what exactly should be the date of expiration for Christmas displays? Some folks would argue that decorations shouldn't come down before Jan. 6, the day of the Epiphany, when the three wise men were said to have reached the birthplace of Jesus.

We can go with that. We'd even be willing to grant people a few extra days to dismantle their displays. Which would mean we ought to be able to settle on, oh, say, Jan. 10 as the date when all the lights and holly and wreaths should go back into the attic.

What do you think?

Now we just have to come up with a regulation against putting up Christmas decorations too early. How about December 1 as the earliest date? Or maybe the 10th?

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