The Hoosierist: Is There a Legal Limit on Christmas Decorations?

Tacky holiday decor, carryout beer, and postal worker solidarity. Ask The Hoosierist.

Q: Are there any rules about how many Christmas decorations I can have in my yard? This year, I’d like to go “all in.”
You need not fear the Christmas Police, because when it comes to exterior holiday decorations, pretty much anything goes, so long as it doesn’t obstruct traffic or create a noise issue. Marion County carefully regulates most types of displays, including everything from neon signage to garage sale notices, but goes out of its way to state that you can cut loose with holiday ornamentation—as long as it doesn’t contain a commercial message. So go ahead and plunk 12 animatronic reindeer and a full-sized sleigh on your roof, but resist the temptation to add a promo for your blog among all that Christmas cheer. Oh, and the Indianapolis Fire Department requests that you not plug everything into just one socket, lest you turn your home into a giant yule log.

Q: How much carryout beer am I allowed to buy at one time from a brewpub? Surely there’s an upper limit.
A: According to the Indiana State Excise Police, you can lug out as much as 864 ounces (or 6.75 gallons), just shy of a pony keg’s worth. That’s not often enforced, though. When it comes to carryout beer, it’s legally impossible to purchase it from a “brewpub,” because that term has no regulatory standing. When The Man looks at a brewpub, all he sees is a restaurant and a brewery that happen to operate next to each other. Which creates an interesting loophole. If you purchase carryout beer from the restaurant, you’re limited to the aforementioned 864 ounces. If, however, you buy from the brewery (which happens to be the exact same place), you can get enough to fill a swimming pool. Which seems unnecessary, but The Hoosierist isn’t going to judge.

Q: I’ve seen the National Association of Letter Carriers, a union for postal workers, on East 54th Street. What are their big issues?
A: The NALC is headquartered in Washington, D.C. (coincidentally, at 100 Indiana Avenue). So the building on 54th Street is just the union’s Central Indiana office. Their big issues are pretty much the same as those of other unions: pay and benefits. However, the Indiana letter carriers also are rooting for the Indiana General Assembly to pass a “dog bite bill” this winter. It would hold dog owners liable in civil court if their mutts attack someone (like, for instance, mailmen) on their property—and criminally liable if said owner doesn’t try to restrain his dog. Legislators, take note. If you want to keep receiving those Victoria’s Secret catalogs, you’ll pass that bill.

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