Chinese food and movies: A Christmas tradition | EW.com

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Chinese food and movies: A Christmas tradition

I celebrated Christmas a day early last night. Not by gathering round a tree, exchanging gifts, or singing carols, though. As a secular Jew with no attachment to Christmas as such, my chosen rituals at this time of year are slightly different: namely, dinner at a Chinese restaurant followed by an evening at the movie theater.

For many American Jews, Chinese-food-and-movies is an annual Dec. 25 (or Dec. 24) tradition. It’s not exactly a holiday, but rather an optional, informal fun-having event that takes place at the same time as billions of other people are observing a holiday. Do I know how it got started? Not really. But I’m so glad that it did.

My fiancée and I celebrated this year with some spicy diced chicken with peanuts (delicious!) and The Young Victoria (not bad!). Who knows, we might go out for Chinese food and movies again tonight if the mood strikes us. Are any of you PopWatchers spending your Christmas the same way? If so, which movies are you seeing, and what dishes are you ordering? While you contemplate these weighty matters, check out Saturday Night Live’s immortal “Christmastime for the Jews” skit below, featuring vocals from the great Darlene Love, for a satirical take on this phenomenon, among other things.

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Originally posted December 25 2009 — 3:40 PM EST

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