Last year's holiday season was wrought with fear and worry about COVID-19. The halls, decked with government mandates and regulations, lacked the usual cheery brightness and celebratory feel. Mask mandates, government limits on churches, kitchens, dining room tables, and social distancing isolated family members from one another and pasted a pall of gloom on celebrations far and wide. Bah, humbug!

Early signs indicate that the people have had enough of the government-sponsored gloom and doom and are ready to celebrate the holidays again, as well they should. There were more Halloween decorations in my neighborhood by mid-September than there were during all of the Halloween season last year, and there is no more talk about restricting trick-or-treat.

Remember last year when only small-sized turkeys were available at the supermarket to discourage Thanksgiving Day gatherings? People were instructed not to have more than six close family members visit their homes at a given time. Remember the government guidance that suggested you leave the old folks alone for the holidays and serve holiday dinner outdoors in the freezing cold? Remember all of that garbage?

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I'm sure there are some still living in fear who will shun family and friends or will insist upon proof the host has been vaccinated before accepting an invitation for a holiday meal. By and large, though, I think the era of fear is over and people are for the most part living their lives again.

I, for one, am looking forward to the holidays and a return to merriment and celebration and away from darkness and gloom. So bring on the pumpkin spice, the Thanksgiving turkey, and the mistletoe and holly, because I'm ready to have at it.

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 and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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