By Celia Barbour

We spent weeks working ourselves into a happy lather over the Christmas feast—my mom, my sisters, and I conferring by phone, divvying up the shopping and chopping, the cooking and baking. Finally, the day would arrive, the whole family would sit down to a spectacular meal, and proceed to talk about…work. Or the weather. Or some people my parents ran into at the store. Now, I am not typically a crusader, but this seemed wrong. Conversation at the holiday table should be worthy of the meal! Which is why, a few years back, growing quite impatient, I called out, "So! Everyone! What was your favorite thing that happened this year?" Everyone stopped chewing, put down their forks, thought. And then the memories started pouring out—remember the trip to Lake Louise? The picnic on the terrace? When you learned to ride without training wheels? Swallowed your loose tooth? The promotion? Oh, a year goes by, and another, and each carries off into oblivion a thousand moments. But at least on this one evening we sit together and savor them.

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