Every Christmas Day, OnMilwaukee.com runs the Chinese Restaurant Guide because it’s an inside joke -- as well as a truth -- that a lot of non-Christians go to Chinese restaurants on Dec. 25 due to the fact so few other restaurants are open. And, of course, because egg rolls are delicious.
However, after the Chinese food is digested, those who don’t celebrate Christmas sometimes find themselves without anything to do on the holiday.
Some folks, like Bay View’s Erik and Emily Fields, plan an inexpensive getaway to avoid the holiday hoopla. The Fields grew up celebrating Christmas, but decided a few years ago, when Erik lost his job, to ditch Christmas to avoid feeling badly about being unable to afford gifts.
"We took a year off and decided to stay on a permanent vacation from Christmas," says Erik. "We usually take off, go skiing or to a cabin so we don’t have to stick around and feel like aliens for not getting into Christmas."
But if you’re a non-celebrator who’s gonna stick around Milwaukee for the Navidad, there are few other things to do on Christmas Day.
Movies. Much to the chagrin of nametag-wearing Twizzlers’ sellers all over the country, movie theaters are open on Christmas. There are usually plenty of new releases around this time, so finding an appealing or appropriate film is easier than ever. Movie going is a popular pass time for Christmas observers, too, making the Christmas Day movie theater a melting pot of popcorn eaters. Check the OnMilwaukee.com movie channel for film locations and times.
Gambling. Nothing puts a twist on traditional Christmas spirit like a bucket of tokens. Potawatomi Bingo Casino is open on Christmas and will offer a special holiday prime rib and crab leg buffet for $22.10. And in lieu of the usual troll doll, bring an elf ornament for good luck.
Drinking. Here’s a list of bars that are open on Christmas Eve and many bars open on Christmas night, too. Or, if the couch is comfy and the DVR is loaded, plan ahead and stock up on Bailey’s, Old Fashioned mix and holiday themed beers to create a yuletide boozy buffet in your very own abode.
Party crashing. Drop hints to friends of your lack of plans and see how many invites you can rack up to family Christmas events. It’s fun to dip into other peoples’ family dysfunction for an hour or two, especially if alcoholic beverages are involved. And just before Uncle Rocky gets offensive and ruins Christmas, move on to the next gig. Or stick around, have another rum ball and enjoy the drama.
Holiday lights viewing. Regardless of holiday preference, checking out light shows and twinkly decorations can be relaxing. Once the sun goes down, crank the heat and drive around town to take in the lights. If you want to add a holiday soundtrack, turn on the radio, or consider creating your own. Maybe "Shout At the Devil" is more of your holiday music of choice, and that’s OK, too.
Ice skating. The Pettit Center is open on Christmas Day from 3 to 8 p.m. for anyone who wants to burn off a few calories after days of indulging. Go here for more information.
Molly Snyder grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.
As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.
She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that.
Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.
Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.
In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!
When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.