My husband and I are hosting our first Thanksgiving dinner this year. The group will be relatively small, only 12 people, and include a nice mix of both sides of our families. While we are thrilled to serve as hosts to the most important people in our lives, once we committed to the task we realized–with two sets of parents boasting 30-some years of Thanksgiving experience–we better get it right or we will never be allowed to host again. Needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway), planning for Thanksgiving, which at press time is still a couple weeks away, has sucked up a substantial amount of our time and energy.

The fall is always a hectic time of year. Like my husband and me, most people stay busy enough decorating their houses (or their kids) for Halloween and either planning the perfect Thanksgiving dinner or figuring out exactly where to spend the late-November holiday.

Fall 2008 particularly didn’t provide relief to the madness, with many of us preoccupied with the faltering economy and a historic presidential election. Then, of course, the busy holiday shopping season immediately ramps up. Before we know it, it’ll be 2009, and we’ll all be wondering, “What happened to the last few months of the year?”

At the risk of sounding clich?, it’s important to take some time this month to relax and reflect on the past year: our goals, our accomplishments and some of the events that affected–and in some cases reshaped–our lives.

In this month’s cover story, “The Year in Review: 20 Stories the In-House Bar Couldn’t Ignore,” InsideCounsel attempts to make this task a little easier. Our editors have compiled a list of 20 news stories from 2008 that we believe had or will have a significant impact on the in-house bar, as well as some that are simply interesting in legal department circles. From the struggling economy and significant court decisions to outstanding legal department diversity initiatives and particularly noteworthy GC appointments, these 20 stories provide a broad look at what mattered to you in 2008.

I challenge you to take some much-deserved time this holiday season to reflect on what has turned out to be an interesting year.