Now that the dishes have been cleared, the feast digested and the company all gone home, it is time to focus on the business of the day. No, not Black Friday shopping. Putting up the Christmas tree!

Yes, today is the first official day of the 2018 Christmas season.

So, when you were a kid and your parents purchased their first synthetic or plastic Christmas tree, you were probably as devastated as I was. When you got married or moved out on your own, you probably insisted on nothing less than the real thing for your own digs. I know I did.

Not too many years afterward, with rising prices for fresh Christmas trees, perhaps you found yourself lingering among the department store trees thinking how much more cost-effective it would be, if not neater, to purchase one for your home. After all, it is better for the environment and you can leave it up longer. You can't put a real tree up in November and leave it there until the end of January, now, can you?

Barry Richard/Townsquare Media

So with my advancing age and sensibility toward the environment (ahem), I look forward to taking out my plastic tree each year and placing it near the fireplace, where it will stand until someone feels like taking off the decorations and stuffing it back in the box.

Nothing says Merry Christmas to me quite like my fake tree. Whatever you decide to do, just make it merry!

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.