WHEN I WAS GROWING UP, EVERY CHRISTMAS MORNING AS MY BROTHER and sisters and I tore open our gifts, my dad never failed to remind us of his own poverty-stricken childhood. And he would once again recount for us—in ever more exaggerated detail—the sad Christmas when his father was away in the First World War, his mother had passed on, and he and his siblings, cousins, and neighbors gathered for a Christmas celebration.
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