Every year on Christmas Eve, my extended family gathers for a meal that can be served at the last minute, whenever we’re ready to eat. This tradition of cold salads, ham balls and cookies goes back to my mom’s childhood.

My mother’s father was a North Dakota postal employee, so on Christmas Eve, she never knew when he would get home. He was determined to keep working, my mom would tell us, “until every Christmas package that could be delivered would be delivered.” He started working for the Postal Service in 1911, and family lore has it that he sometimes had to trudge through the snow on horseback to deliver the mail.

Read the full article at the New York Times.

Sarah Anderson directs the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.