Marcel Proust sure had it right.
Many things, like the petite madeleine cake for him, evoked innumerable fond memories of times past that had meaning and import to his life and the society he lived in. In fact, he wrote volumes after tasting again the petite madeleine of his childhood.
It is also true for families who have shared wonderful times in the past. Only when photos are taken by someone whose approach is friendly and good-humored are people captured with so much love. In this case, because my daughter, C. whose eye is as artistic as her vigilance in capturing touching vignettes is commonplace, our family has a chronicle of Christmas that is unforgettable. A panoply of visual petite madeleines, if you will.
Here is a remembrance of past Christmases our family has shared together at a tiny cottage on the Atlantic on the North Shore opposite Thacher Island in Rockport, MA. and in our home here in central Massachusetts.