The Garage Fridge Is The Unsung Hero Of The Southern Holiday Season

O Christmas fridge, O Christmas fridge, how lovely is your storage.

Homemade Eggnog
Photo: Jennifer Causey; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Stylist: Audrey Davis

Many people will tell you that Christmas cheer originates at the North Pole, but for most Southern hosts, the true source of holiday spirit is a much humbler place: the humming, whirring, stuffed-to-the-brim refrigerator in the garage.

Surely you know what I’m talking about. My family’s is a white, pebble-textured model from the late ‘90s, exiled to the garage around the year 2014 to be replaced by a much sleeker, stainless steel counterpart with all the bells and whistles. But if the old white clunker feels frumpy and overdue for a midlife crisis much of the year, it experiences an annual rebranding come November and December. During the holidays, it’s given a renewed sense of purpose and a fresh lease on life. The garage fridge, after all, always saves Christmas.

Where else could you stash the copious amounts of food and drink that accompany a full house and a crowded table? The shiny appliance in the kitchen seems designed for a family of four, perhaps six people (if they have small appetites). It’s certainly not equipped to store enough casserole to satiate the hunger of seventeen cousins or house an unexpected caramel cake from the neighbor. Where is a host to stash the extra eggnog and Diet Coke for overnight houseguests? And Aunt Madge’s Christmas fluff salad ? And the hollandaise sauce to be chilled? The responding chorus is the same year after year: Garage fridge! Garage fridge! Garage fridge! It’s the safehaven of sides, a lounge for leftovers, the den of desserts. Without that refrigerator in the garage, our traditional festive delicacies and general food safety would both be at risk.

Consider this holiday metaphor: If the indoor refrigerator is the at-capacity inn in Bethlehem, then the garage fridge is surely that most blessed stable. It may not be much to look at, but at Christmastime, it holds the most cherished treasure of all.

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