"In Katie Conlan's dining room, there is a large, stark tree branch arching out of one corner. It is a holiday bush. For birthdays, the family attaches cards and bows to the branch. At Christmas, cards are fastened as they arrive. In February, it's Valentines, and pumpkins and ghosts in October.
"After dinner on Thanksgiving, pencil and paper circles are brought to the table and everyone writes down his or her 'wishes for the world' which are then hung on the holiday bush. The wishes are 'our way of remembering how much we have to be thankful for and how hard we should be working to right the wrongs of the world.' "