The Gift of Conversation

My childhood memories of Christmas remain very clear – everything from the taste of tourtiere after Midnight Mass, the smell of the tree in the den, the sight of presents delivered by Santa Claus – and the sound of relatives sharing stories, filling our house with laughter throughout the season. But living as we did in Northern Ontario, not all of our cheerful relatives were able to come to our home for the holiday.

Yet we managed to spend Christmas together every year and create a lot of joyful memories. I bet you can guess how.

Part of the Christmas tradition was the long distance phone call. My mom’s brothers and sisters (seven in total) would all end up in conversation at some point during the day. That black kitchen wall phone with the loooong cord would get passed around for everyone to participate, connecting us with Montreal, Windsor and numerous small towns throughout Ontario.  And my dad’s four brothers would also call, from Thunder Bay, Toronto, Hamilton and, the most exciting, my Uncle Ed calling from New York! These were precious moments.

We all still have the ability to create such moments for someone else this Christmas. I’m guessing each of us has someone we love or care about deeply that we haven’t spoken to, in real time, for quite awhile. Let’s use this holiday season to pick up the phone and call them, hear the sound of their voice and let them hear our’s. Let’s have a conversation filled with stories and laughter, create the human connection that memories are made of and that no amount of texts, emails, or even letters can replace.

I’m thinking I’ll track down Cindy Thomas. A Newfoundlander near to my heart, she was an office manager at my first company and I haven’t spoken to her in years. If we do connect, I know there will definitely be a LOT of laughter.

So, who will you call? Choose one person; give them the gift of conversation.

I send you my very best wishes for a joyful holiday season. For over 10 years my gift-giving tradition has been homemade Cranberry Almond Biscotti. While I’d love to have the time and logistics to deliver some to each of you, instead I’ll share the recipe. You can find it here, complete with photos:



10 thoughts on “The Gift of Conversation”

    • Thanks, Dimitra, for letting me know. Hope you enjoy some lovely phone conversations this holiday season. I’m sure they’ll deliver great stories and laughter to your day.

  1. This is a lovely Christmas post and idea.

    Merry Christmas, Mary Jane and thank you for your dedication to a subject badly in need of voices like yours!

    Maureen Sharib

  2. Merry Christmas Mary Jane. Thank you for your wonderful post.

    My memories of Christmas are also joyous and fond ones. I was privileged last weekend to have my 6 year old grand daughter come to our home and help me polish the silver for Christmas. She was a pro and we had such a grand time. It is the little things in life that find a place in our hearts….and stay there forever… a good telephone conversation!!!!!! Penny

    • Thank you, Penny. Lovely memory you and your granddaughter have created. Thanks for sharing it. Little things do find a place in our heart and they do stay their our entire lives. Have a lovely Christmas season.

  3. What a warming post, Mary Jane. With all the phones and connections around us, the true conversations are lost nonetheless. Thanks for the reminder! I called a friend of mine in NS (randomly – we hadn’t spoken in years) last Christmas, and she was so surprised, but also felt like she had to say something ‘special.’ Just sharing stories is so valuable – it can be difficult to keep up.

    • Thank you so much, Julie, for sharing this story. It is a delightful surprise when we reach someone on the phone we haven’t spoken to in a long time. Christmas is the perfect time to “surprise” a few more friends and family.

  4. Happy holidays to you MJ, and your family! We,too, made the conversations on the phone an integral part of our Christmas and still do but not as much as before.
    This year I will pick up the phone once more and have some cherished conversations. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Thanks for posting this, Lisa. We’ve all “let go” of those intimate phone conversations bit by bit. This year I’m going to curl up in my favorite chair and make a few more phone memories.


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