One of the best parts of Christmas are the leftovers. When the gifts are opened, the guests have gone home, and it’s just you sitting in a chair in front of the refrigerator with a large spoon, eating peanut butter pie and mashed potatoes in the same bite.
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No one is there to judge you with their Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Book of Etiquette. The hardest part is trying to keep the aluminum foil from waking everyone up at 2 a.m. Nothing says leftovers like dipping chunks of turkey straight into the mayonnaise jar or Tupperware container of cranberry compote.

If you’re too young to know what Tupperware is, it was NASA’s 1980s version of Ziploc containers. They were bulletproof plastic containers that could be melted down to make tractor tires. In the early 1980s, Tupperware lunch boxes were as popular as Cabbage Patch Kids and almost as attractive.

Being the youngest of six and 17th from the bottom in a family of 64 cousins, I was one of the lucky ones who sat at the kids’ table every Christmas. By “kids’ table,” I mean the fold-out card table at the end of all the regular-size banquet tables. The card table was usually at least a foot lower than the banquet table. Kinda like a 52-foot flatbed trailer pulling a little red wagon.

Of course, all I could see from my level was the bottom of each casserole dish. The food always started two miles away at the other end where the grandparents and all the aunts and uncles were seated. By the time the food made it to me … I was eating leftovers at the actual dinner.


Did anybody else’s family out there pretty much repeat the Thanksgiving menu for Christmas dinner? I was 18 before I ever knew a turkey had white meat. For you Italians, imagine you’re at the Feast of Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. For the first 18 years of your life, while everyone else is eating cod, calamari, lobster, shrimp and scallops, you get handed a can of sardines. The only benefit of sitting at the card table was the fact that it was literally located right next to the table which contained all the pies and desserts. One time, my cousin just gave up on the main course and filled up on fudge and peppermint bark.

Some people refuse to eat leftovers. I grew up on leftovers. In fact, two of my favorite leftovers are cold pizza and my favorite Jordache jeans. For those of you too young to know, Jordache was an iconic brand of jeans whose logo was a picture of a horse with a long flowing mane which resembled a man by the name of Fabio. If you’re too young to know Fabio, then I’m done.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas. And remember, if you’re trying not to eat too many leftovers, take your time. It’s hard to quit cold turkey.