Letter allegedly sent to suburban resident claims Christmas lights are ‘harmful’ and a reminder of ‘systemic biases’

The letter states that the "twinkling, colorful lights are a reminder of the division that runs through our country” and that such displays can have a "harmful impact."

Letter recipient's house in St. Anthony

A St. Anthony resident claims to have received a letter in the mail on Monday that chastised her for her Christmas lights display.

The letter states that the “twinkling, colorful lights are a reminder of the division that runs through our country” and that such displays can have a “harmful impact.”

The letter was posted on Facebook on Monday afternoon by the resident and is postmarked Dec. 5 from a 553 Zip Code area, which spans north and west of the Twin Cities.

The resident who posted the letter said in her Facebook post, “Wow, my neighbors and I got these in the mail. We got some whackos around here. Time to move.”

The envelope pictured is addressed to “Neighbor” and has a delivery address on the 3500 block of Coolidge Street Northeast in St. Anthony, Minnesota, which is bordered on the west by northeast Minneapolis and by Roseville on the east.

A reporter from Alpha News made contact with the resident who posted the letter. Although the resident did not object to being identified, Alpha News is choosing to keep her identity anonymous to avoid exposing her to potential backlash.

In the photo posted, the letter is typed and appears to be unsigned with no return address on the envelope.

The letter reads as follows:

“I couldn’t help but notice your Christmas lights display. During these unprecedented times we have all experienced challenges which casual words just don’t describe what we’re feeling. The idea of twinkling, colorful lights are a reminder of divisions that continue to run through our society, a reminder of systemic biases against our neighbors who don’t celebrate Christmas or who can’t afford to put up lights of their own.

We must do the work of educating ourselves about the harmful impact an outward facing display like yours can have. I challenge you to respect the dignity of all people, while striving to learn from differences, ideas and opinions of our neighbors. We must come together collectively and challenge these institutional inequities; St. Anthony is a community welcoming of all people and we must demand better for ourselves.”

The resident who received the letter told Alpha News that two of her neighbors also received letters. When asked to speculate who may have sent the letter, the resident said they “have a feeling it was someone from our neighborhood,” but didn’t expound further.

The letter swiftly made the rounds on social media and garnered hundreds of comments. Reactions were pretty consistent.

The recipient of the letter commented on one of the social media posts, “I literally have one string of lights and a lighted wreath on my house … I guess I will be adding a lot more this weekend if I don’t end up working.”

Another commenter replied to her that he owned a Christmas lighting company and would gladly add some free lights to her house if she messaged him.

“Hey, I’m all for it,” she said. “This year has been tough. I could barely muster the energy to put up the one string I have. My husband had a hip replacement and won’t climb to the second story anymore. I work as a nurse with Covid patients. Maybe I needed this?”

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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.