—A is for aunts, swarms of, all of whom are explaining how you could have cooked the food just a little, little bit differently for a lot more flavor, but really, what you made is just fine, not to worry.
—B is for brothers, the ones watching televised blood sports throughout the family holiday.
—C is for caterers, which you wish you had.
—D is for Dumbest Stuff Ever Done on Earth, or whatever those shows are called, which dleight the younger members of the family and which is all they want to watch on the televisions not occupied by the blood-sports events being observed by the male members of the family unit.
—E is for everything , as in “I can’t believe I ate everything.”
—F is for obscenities, which you must not say in front of the children, even when you spill the stuffing on the floor because the cheap aluminum pan you used collapses under its own weight, never mind that the youngsters are hearing obscenities with great regularity from the very videos they are watching.
—G is for getting over the fact that your best glasses have some kind of rock-salt build-up inside them, making them look less like fine crystal than a seventh-grade science experiment on how the earth’s crust was formed.
—H is for house, as in the one you will have to clean once everything calms down.
—I is for “I’m not going to clean. It is too late to clean. I’m going to bury the dirty dishes in the yard and put tablecloths over all the furniture. That will be just fine.”
—J is for “Just a little bit more because it’s so good and I only have this once a year” (n.b.: this applies to mostly but not exclusivel to food).
—K is for “Kiss that diet goodbye.”
—L is for “Leave me alone, will you? I’m fine! I don’t want to talk to anybody! I don’t want to see anybody!”
—M is for “My mother used to make it this way, but of course you have every right to do what you want in your own kitchen.”
—N is for “If everybody doesn’t sit down at the table right NOW I’m throwing this lasagna right out the door. You'll have to eat only turkey like the 'Mericanos”
—O is for “Only one kind of salad dressing? There are an awful lot of calories from fat in the bottled stuff, actually. Don’t you just have a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar? I don’t want to bother you; I can make my own.”
—P is for potatoes, as in you can’t have enough of.
—Q is for unnerving questions, such as “But if Aunt Lucy and Uncle Mark were married in 1961, doesn’t that make Markie Jr. illegitimate?”
—R is for running away, which you would like to do.
—S is for staying, which of course you will.
—T is for terrific moments of laughter, which redeem the entire experience, and which are the real reason family holidays are important.
—U is for universal, as in: Trust me, whatever issues you think are exclusive to your particularly bizarre relatives, actually everyone in the universe is going through exactly the same thing.
—V is for vanity, as in “Umm, little Cindy just spilled your perfume all over your vanity table and the, umm, the paint on top of it is beginning to peel.”
—W is “Why do we do this? Oh, right, we love each other.”
—X is for the mark you put through the day on the calendar once Thanksgiving is over, which clues you in that you have about a month to prepare for the next round of holidays coming up in December.
—Y is for “You’re inviting WHO? How are we gonna fit that many people around the table?? Never mind. Yes, invite them. There’s always enough room if we use the card table.”
—Z is for “Zzzzzzzzz, urp, zzzzzzzzzz” the sounds of happy holiday guests falling asleep on the couches, on the stairs, prone on carpets in various rooms, after the big meal. This happens while you look around, smile, and decide where in the yard you’re going to use to bury this year’s dishes.