Just as Santa makes his way down the chimney, some Jewish families in Chicago will mark the occasion in a different way—by being the first to see this year’s Christmas blockbuster and filling their bellies with moo goo gai pan.
Chinese food and a movie have long been a Jewish-Christmas staple outing, and according to the New York Times, the custom dates back to 1935 when restaurant owner Eng Shee Chuck brought chow mein to the Jewish Children’s Home in Newark, N.J. on Christmas Day. The likely explanation for the movies is that it probably was (and still is) one of the only places open on December 25.
If you’re looking to keep the tradition going strong, we’ve rounded up the latest family movies to see on Christmas Day, as well as some Chinese restaurants whose woks will be hot for dinner. Just remember to make reservations—often times, getting into your first-choice restaurant on Christmas Day is a Hanukkah miracle.
Family movie best bets
- Mary Poppins Returns
- Ralph Breaks the Internet
- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
- The Grinch
- The Nutcracker and The Four Realms
In the city
- Cai (Chinatown): 2100 S. Archer Ave., Chicago
- Friendship Chinese Restaurant (Avondale): 2830 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
- Min’s Noodle House (Bridgeport): 3235 S. Halsted St., Chicago
- Sun Wah BBQ (Uptown): 5039 N. Broadway, Chicago
- Shine (Lincoln Park): 756 W. Webster Ave., Chicago
In the suburbs
- Chef Ping: 1755 Algonquin Road, Rolling Meadows
- Dragon Palace: 7122 W. 171st St., Tinley Park
- Koi: 624 Davis St., Evanston
- Lin’s Mandarin: 5050 N. Cumberland Ave., Norridge
- Ming Hin Cuisine: 1633 N. Naper Blvd., Naperville
- Chi Tung: 9560 S. Kedzie, Evergreen Park
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