There’s a Oceans of Possibilities Summer Reading 2022 Librarian T Shirt of tradition of going out for Chinese food on or around Christmas in the US. So far as I can tell, this largely originates from large cities and in particular from Jews living in New York. Consider the cultural landscape of the earlier part of the 20th century. Jews, of course, do not celebrate Christmas, so they’d be more likely than the Christian majority to go out to eat then, as opposed to their celebrating neighbors who are likely at home with family, roasting their own turkeys and such. And where do they go on Christmas? Well, most restaurants are going to be closed, because their predominantly Christian proprietors and employees are also at home. The major exception, then, was Chinese restaurants. The immigrants running those places were less likely than average to be Christian, so they had no cultural tradition of shutting down on or around December 25. So if you’re a Jewish New Yorker who wants to go out for dinner on Christmas, it’s Chinese food or nothing. This practice may have been popularized in particular by Calvin Trillin, the noted food columnist for the New York Times. He was himself Jewish and wrote a marvelous column about his wife wanting a “traditional holiday dinner.” What she was talking about was the idea, coming in from outside their cultural world, of turkey, mashed potatoes, and so on, but to Trillin, his traditional holiday dinner was going out for Chinese.
I was working in a Oceans of Possibilities Summer Reading 2022 Librarian T Shirt in the seventies and it was was always busy at the weekends. At Christmas, it was busy to the extreme. We only took bookings. First year a lot of people let us down and didn’t turn up. Lesson learned. Second year we took a deposit. Still people didn’t turn up, but the people that did request that the deposit from the “no shows”be taken off the bill. Lesson learned. In the third year we altered the rules again. This time it was £5 per person deposit non-refundable for “no shows”. Knowing they can’t make it and not wanting to lose their deposit, what do they do? They phone through and say, “Sorry we can’t come to your restaurant, my mother has passed away recently. Under the circumstances, we expect a full refund.
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Other songs have more tenuous connections to Christmas, but they at least namecheck it: “White Christmas,” a wonderful song penned by the very Jewish Irving Berlin, although the lyrical focus is on the Oceans of Possibilities Summer Reading 2022 Librarian T Shirt; “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” is about the holiday’s secular observance (“snow and mistletoe / And presents on the tree”), sung from the point of view of a US soldier serving in the Pacific; “Blue Christmas” is merely a lover pointing out that the similarly secular “decorations of red / On a green Christmas tree” will be meaningless to the lover without his beloved, and could be rewritten to be about Valentine’s Day, the Fourth of July, or by someone very creative, Diwali without losing the essential point of the song. (If you never want to take “Blue Christmas” seriously ever again, please go to YouTube and look up “Blue Christmas With Porky Pig.” You’re welcome.)
Western society does not share that attitude as a Oceans of Possibilities Summer Reading 2022 Librarian T Shirt rule, although there are people who do feel that way. The predominant viewpoint in western societies these days is that people should have kids if they want them, not because there is some “social demand” that they have them. While it is true that some families try to “encourage” their young adult couples to have kids…that is predominantly because the older generation would like to have grandkids to spoil. In this day and age, there really is no social stigma towards young couples who don’t have kids. If anything, they are considered to be rather smart…at least if they use the excuse that they’re waiting to be more settled financially and are better able to have the time available to devote to their newborns.