I’m blogging from the Boulder IHOP. It’s extremely busy today, being one of the few restaurants open on Christmas Day. According to MapMuse and Foodio54, the other open restaurants are Q’s, L’Atelier, and possibly Denny’s. They don’t mention it, but it’s likely that most Asian cuisine restaurants are open, too–see below.
The restaurant question can be fairly important for you if December 25th is just the 25th day in December to you. I don’t celebrate Christmas. For me, the big religious event for me every winter took place this past Sunday night, when I stayed up through the longest night of the year with a crackling fire, lots of food, lots of friends, and a lot of games and conversation. Being Pagan, I celebrate the Winter Solstice, or Yule. As of today, the holiday has been over for the better part of a week.
This is also true for others of my friends, for whom their December celebration began two weeks ago and continued for eight days. And you can’t tell them anything about navigating entertainment on a day when most of retail U.S. is closed; the Jewish community have been dealing with the issue much longer than many of us Pagans have had a religious name to identify ourselves by.
The brilliant “Judaism 101” has a chapter called “What do Jews do on Christmas?” which–
–well. Think about that question for a moment. In some ways, it’s a silly question. Compare and contrast: “What do Christians do during Ramadan?” “What do Buddhists do on Passover?” Yes, the question “What do non-Christians do on Christmas since most of the entertainment options have shut down?” is a valid question, and is indeed the question this blog post sets out to explore. But the reasonable way to ask that question is not the only way it gets asked. Realize that the first item on the page-summary checklist at Judaism 101 is “Most Jews do not celebrate Christmas,” because some people need to be told. Jaw drops, swings in the breeze, clicks shut belatedly.
Anyway. To quote “What do Jews do on Christmas?”:
Many Jews go out for Chinese food on Christmas. The Chinese do not celebrate Christmas any more than we do, so most Chinese restaurants are open on Christmas. In Philadelphia and New York, there are several kosher-certified Chinese restaurants to choose from, so that even the most observant Jew can eat Chinese on Christmas. This option is so popular that someone even wrote a song about it: Chinese Food On Christmas.
Also, most movie theaters are open. Sherlock Holmes hits the big screen today.
Last year, we got together with our other non-Christmas-celebrating friends, played various games all night long, and ordered Chinese food for delivery. This year we’re probably going to do it again. A laptop lunch at IHOP, maybe a session of Rock Band 2 with our neighbor (a fellow Pagan who is also active within the Jewish community; she sent me this link about coffee houses open on the 24th and the 25th, although I’m passing it on a bit late for it to be of much use this year), and then, maybe, after gathering a few more friends (some of whom do celebrate Christmas but will be done with their family gatherings by then), a trek out to Golden Sun (in the corner of the same plaza as IHOP and Video Station) for dinner and cards. Golden Sun are open their usual hours, from eleven in the morning to eleven at night. They’re yummy.
Those of y’all also for whom December 25 is just another day: What are your plans? If you’re going out, what’s open? What do you recommend?
And what are you doing on New Year’s, a holiday on which most of us, be we Christian, Jewish, Pagan, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, or any number of other religious persuasions, can agree, being that we’re all using the same calendar and we like to make noise when the annual odometer clicks over?