Christmas is a season of feelings, most of all appreciation

Published 2:11 pm Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas is a season that spins up a hurricane of feelings each year. All in one season you can feel excitement, joy, appreciation, acceptance, fear, shock and warmth all in the span of days.

I want to focus on appreciation.

I don’t mean simply appreciating the presents people give you, I mean appreciating the fact that someone cared enough about you to get you something in the first place. I want to talk about the appreciation of being able to gather around a table, or a living room, or a backyard since it’ll be 80 degrees this year on Christmas.

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I was recently given a book called 1 Dead in Attic by Chris Rose, who is a writer for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans. It’s not a Christmas book by any means but bear with me; it’ll make sense in the end. The book is a collection of columns written by Rose in the year and a half after Hurricane Katrina. Again, not Christmas related.

I sat there reading it last night and I got to a column he wrote about showing his appreciation for the members of the California Nation Guard who guarded his impromptu newsroom he had been working out of. He was led to a miraculous freezer deep in the French Quarter that somehow survived the storm and still held hundreds of pounds of unspoiled steak. He loaded the meat up and had a massive cookout for the guardsmen that had helped him and his colleagues in their time of need.

Now I’ll try to bring this full circle. I read that column last night, Dec. 22. This is the first time I have been away from my family on Dec. 20, my birthday, and this is the first time that I had spent this much of the holiday season away from them. However, I never once felt out of the holiday spirit. Don’t get me wrong, I miss my family daily but this distance gave me a new appreciation for this holiday season.

This town, the people in it, and its small town Christmas feeling kept my spirits high even while being away from my family. So for that, I thank you.

It’s even the little things. While covering the Yuletide Jubilee I was approached multiple times and introduced to many people who could not have been more kind. I appreciated it, and I still appreciate it.

Now, back to that column. Unlike Rose, I do not have hundreds of pounds of steak that I could cook for the people who had treated me so well in this town during the holiday season. I’m also not comparing myself being away from my family for a couple of days around Christmas to the needs of those in New Orleans post-Katrina. But I do have a new appreciation and a debt to pay to the people of Bainbridge. I just hope this column can work as a repayment.

Merry Christmas, y’all.