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Christmas dinner: At home or in a restaurant?

Does this look like Christmas dinner?

Does this look like Christmas dinner?

Back when my wife and I were first married and we lived in Denver, we had a funny Christmas tradition. We would invite our best friends over to prepare an elaborate Christmas Eve dinner that lasted into the early hours. They then spent the night. The next day we exchanged presents, went for a long walk and then had an early dinner at our favorite Chinese restaurant. We’d feast on roast duck, enormous steamed Pacific oysters in black bean sauce and salt-and-pepper pork chops. This practice lasted for several years — even after the birth of our first daughter, who always looked forward to her Christmas dumplings.

We were a pretty ethnically mixed group — Christian, Jewish and Japanese — so our dining choice make sense in context. We all had a nostalgia-tenderized spot for good Chinese food.

Do you like to go out for Christmas dinner? And, if so, do you ever go to Chinese restaurants?

If you are looking for a place to dine out, both Atlanta Magazine’s Covered Dish blog and Creative Loafing’s Omnivore blog have suggestions.

29 comments Add your comment

Foodgeek

December 21st, 2009
12:31 pm

I like Korean food on Christmas day, personally. Last year I did Korean bbq and I think I did So Kong Dong the year before that.

MM

December 21st, 2009
12:37 pm

I’ve always gone to Grand China for Christmas lunch/dinner. They’re the best.

Muffin

December 21st, 2009
1:25 pm

Lucky Key In Tucker for Christmas Eve dinner with the folks was always fun.

Ms Chelle

December 21st, 2009
1:50 pm

HOME COOKED CHRISTMAS DINNER IS ALWAYS GOOD :)

Tyler Pike

December 21st, 2009
2:11 pm

Cinnamon sticks and peppermint pulled pork! Nothing beats the taste of Dad’s home cooked Christmas BBQ. Our family’s holiday tradition includes a Christmas hayride in the tractor. Dad always drives and he takes us around to see the lights in the neighborhood. Then we come back and feast on his slow cooked cinnamon and peppermint BBQ (seriously, it’s a Christmas miracle), while we share tales of Santa and his reindeer. I hear this year’s going to be the best so far. I sure hope so.

lisa

December 21st, 2009
2:15 pm

This is so funny. We thought we were the only one’s eating Chinease on Christmas Day. We have a huge Christmas Eve Dinner and Celebration. On Christmas morning we open presents and have a big family (ONLY) breakfast! No one is invited just us and the kids. (Since we saw everyone the night before). Then that evening we get a bunch of Chinease. This is the first year we are making a turkey dinner and my husband feels we are breaking tradition. :)

reservoirDAWG

December 21st, 2009
2:19 pm

Home cooked.

Becky

December 21st, 2009
2:29 pm

We have always had homecooked..What your family does, sounds pretty good though..Whatever anyone does, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year..

Jim R.

December 21st, 2009
2:39 pm

Gotta list of Chinese restaurants open on Christmas Day?

Happy Holidays John!

F-105 Thunderchief

December 21st, 2009
3:04 pm

Have never eaten out on Christmas. I would, though, and Chinese sounds like a great option. Not gonna happen, though. Now grown, the kids like to come home and have their childhood favorites.

Nikki

December 21st, 2009
3:35 pm

My husband & I have custody of his children, but they go to their Mom’s on Christmas day. So, our tradition is going to the movies, then to Chef Wang’s in Oakwood, GA for late lunch/early dinner! This is something we both look forward to all year! Merry Christmas everyone!!!!

Jennifer

December 21st, 2009
3:40 pm

I think whatever you do, the important thing is to be family/friends/loved ones. Building a tradition, whatever it is, is ALWAYS cool!

Egger

December 21st, 2009
3:43 pm

One year my husband and I got the best of both worlds. We woke up and had Christmas morning with presents and a huge brunch with family, then went to the airport, flew home and made it in time for a burger and a beer at the EARL in East Atlanta on Christmas night.

John Kessler

December 21st, 2009
3:52 pm

Muffin – Lucky Key is that place by the Best Buys, right?
lisa – I love your story. So funny that having a turkey over Chinese is breaking tradition.
Jim – I think Chinese restaurants everywhere are open on Christmas Day, but the one I might go to for its nostalgic feel is Canton Cooks on Roswell Road.

DB

December 21st, 2009
4:02 pm

We always go out for a Chinese dinner before the 8 pm Christmas service — we love it! But dinner is at home on Christmas Day — the kids don’t care what else I put on the table, as long as there is a Honey Baked Ham and Sister Schubert rolls!

GretchenS

December 21st, 2009
4:02 pm

We started a tradition years ago of dining together at our favorite Chinese restaurant early on New Years Eve. The fortune cookies foretold of our blessings – or curses- for the new year. Then we scattered away to our various midnight countdown parties.

Paul

December 21st, 2009
4:08 pm

We go to the Waffle House on Christmas Night. After a couple of days of home cooked food we look forward to a little waffle every year.

John Kessler

December 21st, 2009
4:10 pm

DB – I’ve got a Sister Schubert lover, too.

kayla

December 21st, 2009
4:19 pm

We’re starting a new tradition and going to the Brick Store on Christmas. We traveled for Thanksgiving, so I didn’t cook, and I enjoyed not cooking so much that I decided to (not) do it again. We’ll have early brunch with homemade cinnamon rolls, then high gravity beer and fish & chips for dinner. ;-)

pika

December 21st, 2009
9:41 pm

We often go for Chinese at Christmas, and even Thanksgiving on occasion. Usually, the waiters are so bored they’ll come tell us all sorts of interesting stories about their lives, the food, etc.

Steve Rubin

December 21st, 2009
10:30 pm

We always go to Royal China. The Dim Sum may be on a par with other resturants like Oriental Pearl and China Delights but my wife and 10 year old daughter think that Royal China makes the best desserts

Jason

December 22nd, 2009
2:45 am

That sounds like about the best Christmas tradition ever. My family never had much of a set tradition, with relatives all living out of state, so sometimes we would go up before Christmas, sometimes after, and sometimes Christmas day. My girlfriend and I are heading to London at night on Christmas so I’m cooking brunch for her family and some friends. I love going out, but I rarely prefer it to cooking myself, especially if there are a lot of people. Thanks to your recent article on French omelets I started trying to make them (they always turn out very tasty, if not perfectly made), and now I’ve volunteered to do it for a lot of people. I think I should re-watch that Julia Child video. They are all expecting good French omelets for Christmas now, and it’s really all because of you.

Stephanie

December 22nd, 2009
8:11 am

I am jewish so Christmas dinner, brunch, whatever never did it for my family. Gowing up we always went somewhere on Buford Hwy and then saw a movie. Now that I am all grown up ( yeah right), I have tons of petsits on christmas but I still try and take a couple of hours Christmas Day to meet my family of Buford Hwy. Last year went went to Cafe 101. This year I am aiming for Chateau De Saigon.

Bill

December 22nd, 2009
8:52 am

Last year we cooked at home due to family being in town for our wedding, but the year before we went to Tamarind Seed for Christmas dinner, and it was great.

John Kessler

December 22nd, 2009
9:08 am

I’m going to be with my wife’s family out of town, and there will surely be turkey and all the trimmings. But after reading some of these posts, I feel like I might want to sneak out for some hot and sour soup…

Lisa

December 22nd, 2009
11:00 am

Chinese the day after. Christmas is here, sit down dinner. Standing Rib Roast and all the trimmings I can make. Our son helps me in the kitchen so it’s good and we go to a movie on Christmas. This year it’s Sherlock Holmes at the first showing. Merry Christmas!

Reds

December 22nd, 2009
3:22 pm

Christmas eve is a seafood feast at home with a bunch of friends and family. Crab, lobster claws, shrimp, New England Clam Chowder, and other appetizer-ish stuff. Christmas day is turkey and trimmings.

TCfan

December 23rd, 2009
12:56 am

The first Christmas tradition my husband and I started after getting married was to go to Dim Sum Christmas morning. Now, every year invite friends who stay in town for the holidays to join us for a unique holiday experience :-)

TCfan

December 27th, 2009
1:45 pm

We went to our usual, Canton House, for dim sum Christmas morning with two couples and kids in tow. It’s good as usual and all dishes are hot. My only complaint (and this is a regular thing) is that it takes them forever to bring the carts/plates around. Again, like last year, the duck wasn’t brought out of the kitchen until we were full and already done eating. We ordered a plate or garlic sauteed snow pea leaves (you must try them!), and it took over half-an-hour to arrive just at the end of our meal. Canton House is our regular dim sum place but they need to step up the food service IMO. Otherwise, solid.