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Are You a Good Neighbor?

These iconic holiday characters can help you find out

Question: When you’re addressing holiday cards, how many of them are going to your neighbors?

Hopefully at least a few, but if you’re holding a grudge against some of your neighbors, you’re not alone. A recent survey* shows that 53% of Americans have an annoying neighbor, with top infractions including excessive noise, not cleaning up after pets, bad parking, aggressive animals, and sloppy yards.

Yep, we’ve all had annoying neighbors. But (record scratch) … what if YOU are that annoying neighbor?

Let’s turn to some holiday movies to see examples of neighbors, both detestable and delightful, and see if you recognize yourself in any of these scenarios.


The Neighbor Hall of Shame

The Grinch

(“How the Grinch Stole Christmas”) — Stealing the entire community’s gifts, decorations, and holiday food definitely crosses the line into Bad Neighbor Territory (and breaks several laws). But maybe the Grinch wouldn’t have become such a grouch if he hadn’t kept himself so isolated from his fellow Whovillians. (Whovillites?)

The Bumpus Family

(“A Christmas Story”) — They probably don’t really have 785 hounds, but one was enough to steal the Parkers’ Christmas dinner, drive them from their cozy home, and send them out in search of an open restaurant on Christmas. (Hey, at least they got to try Peking duck!)

Clark Griswold

(“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”) — We’re coming in with a hot take here, because Clark is a lovable goofball who adores his family. But his tree wrecked his neighbor’s house, his lights blew out the electrical grid, and Cousin Eddie caused a sewer explosion.


The Neighbor Hall of Fame

All the Whos in Whoville

(“How the Grinch Stole Christmas”) — When their holiday glitz and gifts were stolen, the Whos came together to celebrate regardless, and when the culprit revealed himself, they didn’t throw him in Whoville Prison … they forgave him and even shared their Roast Beast.

George Bailey

(“It’s a Wonderful Life”) — Like Mr. Rogers, George sets a standard for neighborliness that most people can’t meet, but we can try emulating him a little. He buys and restores a broken-down eyesore, so the least we can do is rake our leaves and keep a decent coat of paint on our houses. He sacrifices his honeymoon to ensure his customers have money to live on during a hard time, so maybe we can cheerfully buy a box of Girl Scout cookies or make a donation to a fundraiser. He genuinely cares for the people of his community and wants to make his town a better place. We should all be so lucky to have a neighbor like George!


*Source: Lombardo Homes, “How Annoying is Your Neighbor? Survey Reveals Top Neighbor Frustrations,”


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