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64° Good Afternoon
OpinionColumnistsMike Vogel

Is the holiday season worth the weight?

The source of angst for high school seniors

The source of angst for high school seniors might spark conversation at Christmas dinner. Photo Credit: iStock

Having trouble closing your pants? Climbing steps? How about breathing?

Happy holidays!

Now that we have finally worked off our Thanksgiving feast, here come the holiday parties and Christmas, with another 10,000 calories of yule joy.

I don't know about you, but I celebrate these family food bonanzas on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. On the former, I go to my brother's house in Brooklyn to indulge in the annual Jewish Christmas Chinese food feast, and the next day take Metro-North up to Connecticut to partake in the Christmas baked ham, ziti and multi-dessert extravaganza prepared by my girlfriend's family.

Whether with Christmas cookies, Hanukkah latkes or other fattening treats, the holidays present a wonderful opportunity for your family to kill you with kindness. At family dinners when I was younger, my Aunt Norma would serve enough appetizers to choke a horse, then bring out turkey, roast beef, countless side dishes, cookies and pies. When I'd leave, about to burst, she would chase me to the door in a panic, pleading, "Did you have enough? Are you sure?" -- and lugging a 5-pound doggy bag.

The best holiday meals I ever had were when I was married. Although my ex-wife was perhaps the only Italian-American in New York who didn't cook, her family made up for it. We'd go to her sister's house in Queens for a gazillion-course Italian "feast of the seven fishes" that started at noon and ended after dark.

Even after we both realized the marriage was a mistake, I stalled a few extra weeks just to partake in one last Italian Christmas blowout banquet.

What do we do with the excess calories? Family squabbles offer an opportunity to burn off poundage. At Thanksgiving, we spent 20 minutes arguing about whether to heat up the apple pie, and if so, whether to put it back in the oven (takes too long) or microwave it (dries it out). And if you really want to shed holiday calories in a hurry, bring up Obamacare, Mayor Bill de Blasio or Fox News.

But even the family fighting somehow warms the soul. And if it doesn't, another round of spiked eggnog, please!

So have a very merry Christmas and happy holidays. And stay off the scale.

Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at


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