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Holiday Ice Breakers

By Lisa Nicklanovich

With the holiday season here, many are getting ready to either host or visit parents, grandparents, cousins, nieces and nephews. What an incredible opportunity to not only enjoy your favorite recipes, but also really get to know those special people in your life. Sure, you’re aware that Aunt Linda is an accountant and makes her famous stuffing every year, and Uncle Joe served in the military, but do you know their life stories?

Too often, the deeper and more interesting stuff like childhood memories, hopes and fears, the real essence of a person, go unexplored. Pick and choose from some suggested questions here and use this season to start the conversation. You may discover fascinating facts about people you’ve known your whole life.

Start with childhood: What was your childhood home like? What were your siblings like back then, and how did you get along with them? At school, what were you like? What were the happiest times of your childhood? What were your hobbies as a kid?

Career questions: What was your first job and how did you get it? How did you decide what field to enter? Was there one person—a mentor, maybe—who had a big impact on your working life? What do you think is absolutely crucial to success at work? What was the best job you ever had? The worst?

Love, family, and the kind of life you’ve lived questions: What did you want to be when you grew up? What are some of your favorite family memories? What are the secrets to a good relationship or marriage? Is there anything you’d do differently as a mother/father now? How are you like your parents? How are you different? Who in the family is most like you? What would you say love is? Have your ideas about love changed over time? What was the hardest decision you’ve made? Do you think life now is harder or easier than when you were young? What are you most proud of?

For more questions and tips on how to get the conversation going, visit and



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