Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What DO Jews do on Christmas Day

It's another Works for Me Wednesday, and this time Shannon is requesting Christmas related themes. Since we obviously don't celebrate Christmas, I'm happy to share with you what most Jewish American families do on Christmas Day when stores and most restaurants are closed, there's nothing on TV, and most people you know are, ahem, a bit busy for a drop in visit.

When I was growing up, I thought this was just my extended family's tradition, but since I've grown to adulthood, I realized that almost every single Jewish family does it to, which makes it an American Jewish tradition. Cool, huh?

So what is it that we do? Well, we tend to sleep late, get up and have a nice big brunchy-type breakfast. In our family it's bagels, cream cheese and lox. We lounge around and read the paper until it's time to go to the movies. Yes, WE are the people that go to the blockbuster movies on Christmas day. You've always wondered who those people are, huh? It's the Jews!

In my little family we spend weeks discussing what our Christmas movie is going to be. My kids are rallying hard this year for National Treasure 2, which we'll probably end up seeing despite my longing to see either Atonement or The Kite Runner. National Treasure is the perfect Christmas movie, with lots of action and adventure and you don't have to think too hard!

Then after the movie, we go to restaurant and eat copious amounts of Chinese food. Why? Because those are the only restaurants that are open, and we have no interest in cooking on Christmas, so tradition says, go out for Chinese.

In our city, where more than half of the population is Jewish (that would be about 40K Jewish people) the Chinese restaurants are packed to the gills. Without reservations in some restaurants, the wait can be up to 2 hours. Every table is packed with kids home from college, families back from the movies, and extended families of several generations. It's a jolly atmosphere, people waving across the restaurant at their friends and shouting hello to their neighbors. The Kosher Chinese restaurant, which is blocks from our house, is so packed that reservations have to be made days ahead of time.

Did you even know there were Kosher Chinese restaurants in Boston? There are!

So that's what we do. It's always a good day, one the kids look forward to all year. It totally works for us!

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Blogger JoAnn said...

Thanks for sharing. Even though we celebrate Christmas, we tend to get bored after the morning hoopla. Maybe we should join y'all at the movies and chinese dinner.

19/12/07 1:31 AM  
Anonymous bethany actually said...

My family often went to see a movie on Christmas afternoon, too--and we're not Jewish. :-) But then, we also see movies on Thanksgiving evening. Maybe we just like movies!

I had no idea there were Kosher Chinese restaurants. Ya learn something new every day!

19/12/07 2:57 AM  
Blogger Keli Ata said...

I'm the only Jew in the family but I'll be spending Dec. 25--the day banks are closed--with my sister. We plan on going out to eat at around 4pm or 5pm (which is late for our family since our dad used to insist on Christmas dinner at noon).

I'll give her a few Christmas gifts, she'll give me belated Chanukah presents, and then we'll rent a movie or go to one.

So basically a day for gifts, movies, and sleeping in late. Pretty sweet, huh?

19/12/07 6:56 AM  
Blogger Rhiannon said...

Thank you! I've always wondered. I went to see a movie last Christmas with my then boyfriend's family. I was surprised to see as many people there as there were. I of course was balling my eyes out from being away from my mommy for the first time in 28 years for the holiday. Needless to say, I"m glad to not be seeing a movie this year!

19/12/07 10:11 AM  
Blogger Rhea said...

I meet see you at the West Newton Cinema as my (Jewish) plans are to see some movies, have some food and hang out with friends in Newton.

19/12/07 1:53 PM  
Blogger Daisy said...

And here I was thinking it was a great day to hang out at home and make French Toast. I see your French Toast Alert is elevated today.

19/12/07 5:13 PM  
Blogger Thumper said...

Heh...we celebrate Christmas but we'll be at the movies on Christmas Day, too. But we won't go for Chinese...probably just Denny's. This won't thrill the Boy but I'm just not cooking a huge meal for 3 people.

19/12/07 5:32 PM  
Blogger Lynn said...

Yup that's what all my Jewish friends do down here (South of Boston) Some have their family Hannukah parties on Christmas if Hannukah falls closer to Christmas since everyone has the day off.

19/12/07 10:21 PM  
Blogger Poppy Buxom said...

I just had a class reunion in Newton, and there were so many Jews in the group (actually, I was the token shiksa) that we got take out Kosher Chinese food--probably from the restaurant you mentioned!

One of my classmates brought up deli from New York, though, so I had that. On white bread. With mayo.


22/12/07 9:26 AM  
Blogger T'Prillah said...

Hi Thanks for sharing this. I will be going to the movies this evening too. But our local Chinese restaurant is closed! Not many Jews around here besides me and my family. Happy Chanukah!

25/12/08 7:51 PM  

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