I'm guessing the main answer to Eli's question about why American Jews traditionally eat Chinese food on Christmas is fairly prosaic. The Chinese, being non-Christian, kept their restaurants open Christmas day, whereas most other restaurants were closed.

But there's another side to the Jewish Christmas tradition that Eli fails to mention. Before or after stuffing ourselves full of Chinese food, we would go to the movies, where the lines would be short, even for the hottest films of the season. But alas, no more.

True story: My first Christmas divorced after a decade-plus relationship with my Irish Catholic ex-wife, I decided to re-embrace my Jewish heritage and go to the movies, the hottest ticket being that for the first installment of the Lord of Rings trilogy, playing at the Cinerama. But I arrive about a half-hour before a noonish matinee to discover they are sold out for every show, and had been for days.

I turn away from the ticket window toward the line of eager ticket holders stretching around the block, many of them dressed as their favorite Tolkien characters, and in my despair I rhetorically ask: "Don't you goyim have anything better to do on Christmas than go to the fucking movies?" To which an enragingly cheerful hobbit steps forward and offers: "Gee, that's not the Christmas spirit."

"I'll tell you what," I tell the hobbit in genuine anger as I step toward him and his furry, ticket-holding friends, "You don't honor the way my people celebrate this holiday, and I won't honor yours."

I ended up seeing fucking Oceans 11 at a theater in Southcenter. Couldn't think of a more depressing way to spend my first Christmas divorced.

So yeah... the question remains: Don't you goyim have anything better to do on Christmas than go to the fucking movies? And if I decide to get some Chinese food, will you be forcing me to stand in line there too?