Around the House – December 2020

The following information on various religious celebrations during the months of November and December comes from Deseret News.

December has finally arrived, and with it comes an abundance of colorful lights, vibrant decorations and family parties. Most of these celebrations are inspired by Christmas and Hanukkah, the two major religious holidays celebrated by Christians and Jewish believers, respectively, in America.

But those are not the only religious holidays that some families may celebrate together. In fact, the Interfaith Calendar organization lists 14 religious holidays for the month of December. Below are those holidays with a short explanation of each.

November (date varies): Mawlid el-Nabi — Islam

This is an Islamic holiday that honors the birth of the prophet Muhammad, who founded Islam. Shia and Sunni believers will celebrate on separate days by reading the prophet’s teachings.

November (date varies): Advent Fast begins — Orthodox Christian

Though Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, the fasting starts midway through the month with only two weeks until Christmas. The holiday is celebrated by believers lighting advent candles, hanging wreaths and attending church ceremonies.

December 6: Saint Nicholas Day — Christian

This holiday honors the birth of Saint Nicholas, the saint who serves as a role model for gift-giving and is commonly known as Santa Claus.

December (date varies): Hanukkah — Judaism

This is the eight-day Jewish festival of lights, which celebrates the Maccabean revolt in Judea. Eight candles are lit with a menorah to honor the holiday.

December 8: Immaculate Conception — Catholic

In the lead-up to Jesus’ birthday celebration on Christmas, Catholics celebrate the day of Immaculate Conception to honor his mother Mary, who they say was preserved from original sin for her entire life.

December 12: Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe — Catholic

This is a primarily Catholic holiday celebrated by Mexicans and Americans of Mexican descent that honors the reported appearance of the Virgin Mary in Mexico City.

December 17: Posadas Navidenas — Christian

This is a primarily Hispanic Christian holiday that commends Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus.

December 21: Solstice — Wicca/Pagan

Solstice is the point in the year “when the earth is most inclined away from the sun. It is the most southern or northern point depending on the hemisphere,” according to Interfaith Calendar. Pagans and Wicca believers will celebrate that event through Yule, in which believers also honor “the winter-born king, symbolized by the rebirth of the sun.”

December 25: Christmas — Christian

Christmas is a primarily Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Many will attend church, have family parties and exchange gifts.

December 26: Zarathosht Diso (Death of Prophet Zarathustra) — Zoroastrian

Unlike many of the other holidays in the month, Zoroastrians honor the death of their prophet, Zarathustra, who founded Zoroastrianism, one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions.

December (Date varies): Feast of the Holy Family — Catholic

Catholics use this day to honor Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

December 28: Holy Innocents Day — Christian

Christians solemnly honor the deaths of children killed by King Herod, who was attempting to kill Jesus.

December 31: Watch Night — Christian

Christian religious service held on New Year’s Eve and associated, in many African American churches, with a celebration and remembrance of the Emancipation Proclamation (enacted January 1, 1863), which freed slaves in the Confederate states during the American Civil War.

January 24: Rohatsu (Bodhi Day) — Buddhist

This holiday celebrates the historical Buddha’s decision and vow to sit under the Bodhi tree until he reached spiritual enlightenment. It is celebrated through meditation and is embraced similar to how Christians celebrate Christmas to honor Jesus Christ.

Around the House – November 2020

Bandit Signs

Village of Oak Lake is in an unincorporated part of Sugar Land and therefore, we do not fall under any city ordinances that regulate bandit signs.  However, our deed restrictions cover such signs as follows:

Declarations of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions; Village of Oak Lake

Except for signs owned by Declarant or other Builders advertising their model homes during the period of original construction and home sales, no sign, advertisement or billboard, or advertising structure of any kind other than a normal “For Sale” sign not to exceed nine (9) square feet in total size may be erected or maintained on any Lot in said Subdivision.  Declarant, the Association, or its assigns, will have the right to remove any sign, advertisement or billboard or structure that does not comply with the above, and in so doing shall not be subject to any liability of trespass or other sort in connection therewith or arising with respect to such removal.

Rules regarding bandit signs vary by state, by city and town, and even by subdivision and community. These rules not only cover the “scammy” signs, but also legitimate signs posted by well-meaning people.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation – Rules for Posting Campaign Signs: During campaign season, the landscape blooms with a special kind of flower – the political sign. Unlike wildflowers that are welcome anywhere, putting campaign signs on public lands is illegal. So, before you plant that sign, learn the law and keep Texas beautiful.

What you need to know:

  • It is illegal to place any sign on or within the right of way. This includes posting signs on trees, telephone poles, traffic signs and other objects on the right of way.
  • Campaign signs along Texas roads can be placed on private property with the owner’s permission. Signs must be made of lightweight material and be no larger than 50 square feet.
  • Campaign signs may be posted as early as 90 days before an election (no earlier) and must be removed within 10 days after the election.

One of the biggest complaints about bandit signs is that they are eyesores. They can be distracting to drivers and make an intersection look unsightly.  In addition, some bandit signs are the handiwork of scammers who are not legitimate.

If you are a person who posts bandit signs, please follow the rules/guidelines/laws for the area you are placing your signs.  The VOL HOA Board is discussing the trash and sign issue in our neighborhood and we hope to have a solution in the very near future.

Around the House – October 2020

Fall is a great time to open the windows, air out your home and start cleaning to get your home in shape for the holidays.

Some of the recommended Fall cleaning includes:

  1. Wipe down your walls.
    This can be accomplished with a damp cloth or a rag attached to your broom to clean larger areas.  A solution of mild soap and water is perfect for this task.
  1. Wash your windows, windowsills, and all the window groves.
    This is one of those tasks that can make a big difference in the appearance of your home.  Clean windows are a must to let in as much natural light as possible.   You can use a commercial cleaner like Windex or to get your windows squeaky clean just use a 50/50 blend of distilled white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and wipe with a lint free cloth.
  1. Clean your washer and dryer.
    Add four cups of white cleaning vinegar to the wash cycle. After the cycle starts, pause the machine and allow it to sit for an hour. During this time, wipe down the top of the washer with a microfiber cloth dipped in hot vinegar water (50/50 mix).  Use an old toothbrush to scrub the fabric softener and bleach dispensers.  Wipe the outside of the dryer with the same cloth and vinegar water mixture.  Clean the dryer lint filter after each use and remember to clean the dryer hose frequently to prevent risk of fire.
  1. Clean your doorknobs, doors, and light switch plates.
    Since Covid-19 started this is probably the most our doorknobs, doors and switch plates have ever been wiped down.  Use a commercial disinfectant spray or homemade mixture to clean these areas.  There are lots of suggestions on Pinterest for mixing your own non-toxic but effective cleaning products.
  1. Vacuum under all beds, couches, and other furniture.
    These are areas that tend to get neglected in our daily cleaning routine.  It is amazing how fast the dust bunnies collect under larger pieces of furniture.  So, once or twice a year move them all around so you can thoroughly clean under and around them.
  1. Dust the tops of doors and door frames.
    This is another area that tends to get neglected in our daily/weekly cleaning routine.  A mild solution of soap and water should be enough to clean the doors and frames.  If you have more stubborn dirt and/or stains, try using a commercial cleaner like Pine Sol or create your own from one of the many recipes on Pinterest for non-toxic cleaning.
  1. Spot clean carpets and rugs.
    This is a must for making your home look and smell fresh.  To clean carpets try using a mixture of baking soda and an essential oil of your choice.  Sprinkle it on the carpet, let sit for 30 minutes then vacuum it up.  (Test in a small area first and do not use tea tree oil around pets). If your rugs are small enough you can run them through the wash.  If not, take them outside and hose them off and hang outside to dry.

By following all or some of the tips provided here, your home will look and smell great as you head into the holiday season.

-Better Homes and Gardens