11/26/2011 02:00 pm ET

Holiday Memories: Readers Recall Thanksgivings, Hanukkahs, And Christmases Past

The holidays obviously mean a variety of things to different people, from the religious significance they have for many of us to the simple enjoyment of preparing and sharing a great meal, choosing the gift for your sister that says, "See, I don't always re-gift," or just spending time with the people who matter most to you.

With that in mind, we recently asked readers, as part of our Pottery Barn Holiday Entertaining Giveaway (there's still time to enter -- click here for details), to tell us about the most memorable holiday gathering they've ever hosted. I'm not sure what we were expecting -- Christmas or Hanukkah proposal stories (which are still welcome, by the way)? Tales of the times you flambeed your dining room rugs (please tell me someone besides my mother has done that)?

As it turns out, your responses are more moving than anything we could have hoped for. They are deeply personal -- full of love and, in several cases, loss. If you ever needed proof that there is more to the holidays than excessive consumption, you'll find it here.

Here are a few of our favorite responses so far:

8 Readers' Most Memorable Holidays