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 Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): Christmas Day bomber. Where were you at on Christmas Day?

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan: Senator... I assume the question you mean is whether a person who's apprehended in the United States--

Graham:(interrupting) Nah, I'm just asking where you were at on Christmas.

Kagan: (laughs) You know, like all Jews, I was probably at a Chinese restaurant.

(Laughter from crowd)

Graham: Great answer!

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT): I could just see that one coming...

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)[1]: Because they're the only places open.


It's Christmas! Hooray! Hoorah! Lights everywhere! Presents! Family gatherings! And to top it off, a massive home-cooked dinner.


You're Jewish (and not of the Informed sect). Or Muslim. Or you're estranged from your family. Or the dog just ate the massive home-cooked dinner. Or you're just plain bored. Whatever it is, the usual Christmas festivities are simply not possible for you. It's just another miserable winter's day, except that since you're off work, you have even less to do than usual.

What are you supposed to do? Well, you could go out...but virtually everything is closed.


There's that one Chinese place in town. It's still open! Grateful to find any human contact, you order the Peking duck and gorge yourself. Bonus points if you bond with the owners despite a language barrier. It's a happy Christmas for you after all!

This has historically been Truth in Television. It is almost a tradition in some (non-Orthodox) Jewish circles to eat Chinese and go to the movies on Christmas. Note that this generally does not apply to chain restaurants serving Chinese food, which typically close for Christmas like everything else.

Examples of Peking Duck Christmas include:


  • Referenced in the comic strip Stone Soup, with a Jewish character saying that the song "Jingle Bells" makes him hungry for Chinese food.
  • A recent Marvel holiday issue revealed that this is typically how The Thing spends Christmas. The story has him and Kitty Pryde get all of the Jewish superheroes together and have a Chinese food feast.


  • In A Christmas Story, Mrs. Parker's turkey is eaten by the neighbors' dogs. Thinking quickly, Mr. Parker has them go out for Chinese, where they eat what Ralphie calls "Chinese Turkey" (really, Peking Duck) and sing Christmas carols with the owners.
  • Variation in The Santa Clause: After Tim Allen burns a christmas turkey, he takes his son to Denny's.
    • Played with, too. Scott first tries to take his son to a Japanese restaurant... but it's closed. When they get to Denny's, it's filled with boisterous Japanese businessmen.
  • Bostick in The Big Year.


Live Action Television

  • The Saturday Night Live TV Funhouse sketch/song "Christmas for the Jews."
  • Referenced at least once by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show; he joked (while discussing Barack Obama's Nobel Prize) that Yasser Arafat got his Nobel Prize just for shaking hands with a Jew; and that if that was all it took to get a Nobel Prize, then, well, the owner of his local Chinese restaurant should get at least a dozen every Christmas.
  • At the end of the House episode "Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't," House and Wilson (who is about to go through his third divorce) go to House's apartment and order Chinese food on Christmas.
  • An episode of The Bob Newhart Show has a Thanksgiving variant of this, with Emily leaving town to visit her parents and Bob staying home to spend the holiday getting plastered and ordering moo goo gai pan with Jerry, Howard, and Mr. Carlin. ("More goo to go!")
  • Head of the Class also has a Thanksgiving version, with Mr. Moore (the teacher) spending the holiday alone and the usually-antagonistic Dr. Samuels (the principal) escaping his in-laws. They happen to choose the same Chinese restaurant to go to, and bond.


  • A '60s novelty record by Tommy and the Greyhounds is titled "It's a Technicolor Christmas When You're Jewish (Because the Movie Houses Never Close)".
  • The Waitresses' "Christmas Wrapping". The singer, a busy single woman, decides to do Christmas alone this year to unwind after a hectic year, while thinking back to a guy she met last year but could never connect with. At the end of the song, she heads out to "the only all-night grocery" for cranberries when she runs into the guy, who had decided to do Christmas alone this year as well. They end up celebrating together.
    • Ska group Save Ferris did a cover of "Christmas Wrapping", re-writing the lyrics from the perspective of a Jewish person during the Christmas season.
  • Straight No Chaser's "Christmas Can-Can". In the second verse one singer complains, "It's not fair if you're Jewish," and later adds, "I'm gonna get some Chinese food."
  • YouTube musician Brandon Walker's breakout hit was about this, cleverly titled "Chinese Food on Christmas".

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Referenced in one Simpsons Christmas special. During the song-and-dance Krusty and his dad get a part where they sing " Even though we're not Gentile we get together for a while, and shoot the breeze and eat Chinese, 'cos Christmas time is here! Oy!"
    • Another episode referenced the trope with the Elderly Jewish Man remembering his childhood Christmas.

Real Life

  • In real life, most Chinese families that celebrate Christmas only fill the criteria up to the tree and presents. The food is completely fair game as they are making what they already know how to make. They just put a little more work into it.
  • At the Supreme Court hearing for Elena Kagan, she was grilled by the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Christmas Day Bomber. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) asked her where she was on Christmas Day. She replied, "Like all Jews, I was probably at a Chinese restaurant."
  1. Himself Jewish