Commentary: Ho-Ho-Hum

By Derrell Connor Special To Channel 3000

Holiday seasons are a little weird and awkward for me. Since my mother is a Jehovah?s Witness, it wasn?t until I turned 18 and ventured out on my own that I started to celebrate Christmas, or any holiday for that matter. So getting into the holiday spirit hasn?t been the easiest thing to do.

Thanksgiving is great — food and football, what could be better? But for a time I just couldn?t get into Christmas. When my oldest son was born, I thought I might start to enjoy some of the things that I missed out on as a kid. Not trying to live vicariously through him or anything, just trying to get into the spirit. But I couldn?t do it. Even after he was old enough to understand what the holidays mean and everything that goes along with it, I still wasn?t into it.

After my daughter was born, I thought, ?OK, maybe now I?ll get excited about it. I have a little girl now. I have one of each. I get to buy presents and experience the holidays from a completely different perspective.? Yet when the holidays came around, nothing. Sure, I did the usual: brought up the artificial Christmas tree from the basement, went to crowded outlet malls and stood in long lines to buy gifts, watched all the classic holiday cartoons on television. But I was merely going through the motions. I wasn?t really enjoying it. I know the kids were, but what about me? Did all the years of not celebrating Christmas make me immune to ever enjoying it? And while I was indeed happy and excited for my kids when they opened their gifts and appreciative of the presents they (their mother) got for me, the smile on my face wasn?t completely sincere. I was never going to get this Christmas thing, I thought.

But then something strange happened. When my youngest son was born three years ago, my feelings started to change. Maybe it was the fact that I?m getting older, this was my last child, and I?d better start enjoying these times because before you know it, they?re all grown up. Or maybe it was the fact that his birthday is December 14 (Happy Birthday, Jackson!!). I don?t know, but whatever the reason, I?m into it now. I don?t mind bringing up the tree from the basement. I don?t mind Christmas decorations all over the house. And I don?t even mind shopping for gifts (well maybe that last one is a bit of a stretch). The point is, I actually look forward to the holidays. The blizzards, the extreme cold weather, everything that?s associated with it. Maybe 20-plus years of having the opportunity to enjoy the holiday season has finally gotten to me. And having a family to share it with doesn?t hurt, either.

I realize that the holiday season can be stressful for a lot of people. In these tough economic times, there are a lot of folks struggling to make ends meet, and because of that they?re not able to enjoy it as much as others. But that?s the exact reason why this time of year is so great. It gives us the chance to help others less fortunate. It?s the opportunity to spend time with the people that are most important to you. And it?s the blessing of watching your kids? faces when they open their gifts on Christmas morning. Maybe I am getting used to this holiday season stuff.

Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa!