Chinese Food and a Movie: The Jewish Christmas

Christmas time means one thing for Jews across the United States: Chinese food and a movie. This is our way of recognizing the birth of that guy – it’s fun, it’s tasty and although we might complain about the ever-rising price of movie tickets these days (oy), it’s cheaper than all those damn gifts everyone is buying each other. So that’s what we do. It’s a tradition. Our tradition.

But there’s a problem. You see, this is a Jewish tradition. We are an open and accepting people, don’t get me wrong. But over the last few years I have seen a lot of non-Jews at both the movies and the Chinese food restaurants on Christmas. At first it was just the Indians and Asians and other various non-Christians. We are an accepting people, as I said above. So occassionally I’ll catch a, “get a load of this guy” glance from a fellow Jew as an Indian family walks by to their dinner table, but that’s about the extent of it. No one really cares, in fact, I think all Jews are glad that people are discovering that there are other things to do on December 25 besides participate in Christmas.

But you see, the problem is that now the Christians are catching on. After weeks of celebrating their “12 days” and bombarding us with Christmas trees and Christmas carols and Christmas decorations and Christmas cookies (actually, keep the Christmas cookies coming. I’ve got some Chanukah gelt I could trade you…) these Christians want more. Apparently opening mounds of presents that Santa “brought” only takes a few hours. That leaves most of the day left to, well, eat Chinese food and watch a movie. And as a result, the theatres are packed and the restaurant wait times are getting longer.

And us Jews are getting pissed. We came up with our own thing just so we could stay out of your way. The plan was working fine for decades. Why the sudden change? Well, change it back. You stick to your presents and we’ll stick to our Chinese food and a movie. Everyone will be happy. Please? Did I mention I have plenty of Chanukah gelt to offer you?

One thought on “Chinese Food and a Movie: The Jewish Christmas

  1. Twas the night before Christmas (Jewish style)
    `Twas the night before Christmas, and we, being Jews,
    My girlfriend and me – we had nothing to do.
    The Gentiles were home, hanging stockings with care,
    Secure in their knowledge St. Nick would be there.
    But for us, once the Chanukah candles burned down,
    There was nothing but boredom all over town.
    The malls and the theaters were all closed up tight;
    There weren’t any concerts to go to that night.
    A dance would have saved us, some ballroom or swing,
    But we searched through the papers; there wasn’t a thing.
    Outside the window sat two feet of snow;
    With the windchill, they said it was fifteen below.
    And while all I could do was sit there and brood,
    My girl saved the night and called out: “CHINESE FOOD!”

    So we ran to the closet, grabbed hats, mitts, and boots –
    To cover our heads, our hands, and our foots.
    We pulled on our jackets, all puffy with down,
    And boarded the T, bound for old Chinatown.
    The train nearly empty, it rolled through the stops,
    While visions of wantons danced through our kopfs.
    We hopped off at Park Street; the Common was bright
    With fresh-fallen snow and the trees strung with lights,
    Then crept through “The Zone” with its bums and its thugs,
    And entrepreneurs pushing ladies and drugs.
    At last we reached Chinatown, rushed through the gate,
    Past bakeries, markets, shops and cafes,
    In search of a restaurant: “Which one? Let’s decide!”
    We chose “Hunan Chozer,” and ventured inside.

    Around us sat others, their platters piled high
    With the finest of fine foods their money could buy:
    There was roast duck and fried squid, (sweet, sour and spiced,)
    Dried beef and mixed veggies, lo mein and fried rice,
    Whole fish and moo shi and shrimp chow mee foon,
    And General Gau’s chicken and ma po tofu…
    When at last we decided, and the waiter did call,
    We said: “Skip the menu!” and ordered it all.
    And when in due time the food was all made,
    It came to the table in a sort of parade.
    Before us sat dim sum, spare ribs and egg rolls,
    And four different soups, in four great, huge bowls.
    And chicken wings! Dumplings! and beef teriakis!
    And scallion pancakes – ’cause they’re kind of like latkes!

    The courses kept coming, from spicy to mild,
    And higher and higher toward the ceiling were piled.
    And while this went on, we were aware
    Every diner around us had started to stare.
    Their jaws hanging open, they looked on unblinking;
    Some dropped their teacups, some drooled without thinking.
    So much piled up, one dish after another,
    My girlfriend and I couldn’t see one another!

    Now we sat there, we two, without proper utensils,
    While they handed us something that looked like two pencils.
    We poked and we jabbed till our fingers were sore
    And half of our dinner wound up on the floor.
    We tried – how we tried! – but, sad truth to tell,
    Ten long minutes later and still hungry as hell,
    We swallowed our pride, feeling vaguely like dorks,
    And called to our waiter to bring us two forks.

    We fressed and we feasted, we slurped and we munched;
    We noshed and we supped, we breakfast’d and lunched.
    We ate ’til we couldn’t and drank down our teas
    And barely had room for our fortune cookies.
    But my fortune was perfect; it summed up the mood
    when it said: “Pork is kosher, when it’s in Chinese food.”
    And my girlfriend – well… she got a real winner;
    Hers said: “Your companion will pay for the dinner.”

    Our bellies were full and at last it was time
    To travel back home and write some bad rhyme
    Of our Chinatown trek (and to privately speak
    About trying to refine our chopstick technique).
    The MSG spun ’round and ’round in our heads,
    And we tripped and we laughed and gaily we said,
    As we carried our leftovers home through the night:
    “Good Yom Tov to all – and to all a Good Night!”

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