Has the COVID-19 pandemic got you down this holiday season? Many neighborhoods throughout the region have decked to the nines with Christmas lights and decorations that are worthy of an evening drive. The wonderful holiday decor will help boost your sagging spirits. Trust me. I've done it again and again.

Barry Richard/Townsquare Media

If you haven't yet, you might want to add downtown New Bedford to your drive. As a matter of fact, you might want to park the car and go for an evening stroll through downtown New Bedford. It is sure to bring back some fond memories and perhaps even lift your spirits from ground level to soaring.

Barry Richard/Townsquare Media

I make it a ritual to visit downtown every Christmas season, not just to buy unique gifts for giving to friends and family, but also to soak in the atmosphere as well. The historic buildings combined with the holiday decorations make the area magical.

Barry Richard/Townsquare Media

While this season is a bit out of the ordinary, downtown is still a draw. There was no official tree lighting ceremony this year due to the pandemic, but the decorations went up anyway.

Barry Richard/Townsquare Media

Make the time to visit the downtown merchants that feature local specialty items not found at the mall or Walmart. They sure could use your help this year. Then grab a hot chocolate and wander the streets. If you listen carefully, you might even hear the strains of Mitch Miller leading a community sing-a-long in front of the library.

Barry Richard/Townsquare Media

I've included a few photos from this season and seasons past to give you a teaser. Enjoy them and enjoy the season. It's only here for a little while.

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.

Light Up SouthCoast 2020

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