As Christians hang their stockings over the fireplace and bake cookies for Santa, some people may wonder what their Jewish friends are doing. Many Jews of interfaith families (families with multiple religions) still celebrate Christmas, but others have different things they like to do on December 25th. Like many aspects of Judaism, many involve good food and friends. Here is what your Jewish friends might be doing while you are opening your gifts.
Chinese Food - Yes Chinese food, the old Jewish Christmas tradition. Many Chinese restaurants are still open on Christmas so they are easy options for Jews who want a good meal with delicious food. While this may just seem funny there is actually a reason behind this. When thousands of Jews assimilated to America they found Chinese food did not violate Kosher (dietary) laws by mixing dairy and meat. Now there are many Kosher Chinese restaurants in cities around the country.
Movies - Like Chinese restaurants, most movie theaters are also open on Christmas. Movies are a great way to spend some time with family. In recent years the movie industry has chosen Christmas day as a big day for movie premieres. This gives Jews many options to choose from.
The Matzoball - On Christmas Eve, many cities hold what’s called a Matzoball for Jewish singles.
Work - Many Jews take the Christmas shift if their work isn’t closed on Christmas, giving their Christian co-workers the day of to celebrate. Many Jews like to work on Christmas so they can take days off for Jewish holidays throughout the year.
Volunteer - Many charities like soup kitchens, Toys for Tots, homeless shelters, and Haven From Hunger need volunteers around the holidays. Jews and many others go volunteer their time to help people less fortunate than them.