Judging by all of the fuzzy, slippered feet I saw scampering the floors of Market Basket this morning, I would say that bedroom slippers were a big hit this Christmas.

Christmas decorations were a big hit as well. The Greater New Bedford area was probably as decked out for Christmas as I have ever seen it. With all of the inflatables that are out this year, my street alone looked like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade collided with the Las Vegas Strip. It was awesome.

I'm not sure if all of the decorating projected a heightened sense of individual Christmas spirit or if it was a collective effort to boost each other's spirit as well as our own. After all, it has been a real dog of a year.

Several of my friends posted on social media that they have already taken their decorations, including taking the Christmas tree down. Some said their real trees had dried out and needed to go. One friend, who is about to have a baby at any moment, said she de-Christmasized now because she couldn't imagine having to do it after the child is born.

A walk through my neighborhood revealed several neighbors with rather elaborate displays have also put Christmas back in the box.

So that raises the question: when is it time to take down the Christmas decorations that probably took many hours to put up? It's different each year with me. Some folks traditionally leave up the tree until Little Christmas, a Christian celebration on January 6. For me, the clock rather than the calendar dictate when I take down the Christmas stuff. It's more of a question of when do I have the time to do it.

Christmas decorations, especially the outdoor ones, tend to look a bit shabby after Christmas is over. The inflatables blow around and mingle with leaves, and light strands sometimes are left hanging from the gutter. After a time, those beautiful decorations become an eyesore, but putting them up is considerably more fun than taking them down.

Should there be a time limit by which all decorations must be removed? I'm not sure about that. What do you think?

Be kind to your neighbors, and don't leave the decorations up too long. There are rules about how long after an election a candidate has to take down his campaign signs because they become eye pollution after a while. The same can be said about Christmas decorations.

I guess there is no real set time for taking down the Christmas stuff. It's what's in your heart. But don't leave them up until February, or your neighbors should have a right to take them down for you.

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.

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