Growing up, my dad's federal salary was our family's income. It's kind of funny, then, that all I remember about the 1996 shutdown is how much fun we had. It was Christmastime, so it was great to have Dad home some extra weeks.
The best thing, though, was how a blizzard came through right after the shutdown lifted and we were all at home again for another week. Sledding, hanging out, ice skating on the neighborhood tennis court (because a serious ice storm coated it quite thickly and smoothly before the snow came down on top). It was glorious.