The Atlantic

Why American Jews Eat Chinese Food on Christmas

A lack of dining options may have started Jewish Christmas, but now it’s a full-fledged ritual.
Source: Kent Wang / Flickr

If there’s a single identifiable moment when Jewish Christmas—the annual American tradition where Jews overindulge in Chinese food on December 25—transitioned from kitsch into codified custom, it was during Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan’s 2010 confirmation hearing.

During an otherwise tense series of exchanges, Senator Lindsey Graham paused to ask Kagan where she had spent the previous Christmas. To great laughter, she replied: “You know, like all Jews, I was probably at a Chinese restaurant.”

Never willing to let a moment pass without remark, Senator Chuck Schumer

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