Working your way up, from pushing a broom to a management position, in any industry, requires sacrifices be made. Often those include moving from one company to another and moving your belongings far more often than one would desire. As a result, over the past 40 years I’ve spent Christmas in a dozen different communities.
Each and every one of those communities had something unique about they way they celebrated Christmas. Parades, tree lighting ceremonies and charity events created a sense of family in virtually every one but like every family, each had it’s own traditions and personality. I’ve seen Santa arrive to community gatherings in a helicopter, a horse-drawn sleigh, a fire truck, a logging truck, a police cruiser and by boat. I lived in neighborhood once where the tree in the front yard, adorned with Christmas lights was a palm tree and one where it was a cactus.
Those who know me as a less-than-festive kind of guy will question this next statement, but it’s true.
I genuinely enjoyed the Christmas celebrations of each and every one of those dozen communities.
But while I’ve enjoyed those Christmas celebrations, because of the transient nature of my newspaper career, I never felt a part of that community’s family. Those communities in which I lived were never “home”.
One holiday tradition unique to the Tri-Cities is this letter and the other letters in this section from the members of the newspaper’s editorial board.
Annually, I argue the average reader isn’t interested in reading a personal Christmas letter from us. Annually, I’m soundly defeated during editorial board balloting on the issue. Each year a theme is selected - usually at editorial board meetings where I am absent. The timing is not accidental.
The theme this year is “Our favorite Tri-Cities Christmas, or favorite thing about Christmas in the Tri-Cities”.
Without question, my favorite Tri-Cities Christmas is this one. Because this year my amazing friend and partner, Diane, and I decided there won’t be a 13th community in which we celebrate Christmas. We knew shortly after arriving here more than four years ago that this is a place we would like to retire. This year we took steps to ensure we will never have to leave.
It’s nice, after 40 years to spend Christmas in a place that will forever be home.
I’m even starting to look forward to writing next year’s letter.
Gregg McConnell, Publisher