A Non-Traditional Christmas in Hattiesburg

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HATTIESBURG, Miss (WJTV) – It’s Christmas day in Hattiesburg. Most businesses and offices are closed and families are together.

Well, not every business.

Every Christmas, Chinese and Japanese food restaurants historically stay open, giving those who don’t celebrate the holiday a place to eat and not celebrate.

“We do have some regulars, you know who, that’s a tradition. They’ll come out every year,” said Katrina Xhao, owner of the Sake Café Japanese Restaurant. “We have the same people coming in, you know, saying “hey were here!”, and I’m all “welcome back!” you know here’s another year. So it’s kind of like celebrating with the whole town rather than just a family thing.”

Another activity people do on Christmas day is going to the movies.

Garth Keely is a general manager of the grand 18 movie theater in Hattiesburg. Keely says that they’re expecting 80 percent of their shows to sell out today.

“Well traditionally Christmas Day is one of our larger business days of the year,” said Keely. Once the families get finished doing all of their Christmas celebration at their house, then usually, three o’clock four o’clock and into the evenings we start to get a little bit busier because once everybody gets finished doing all of their Christmas stuff, then they usually come by to, they want to be able to do something so they come see us.”

Jerry Shemper says he doesn’t celebrate Christmas because he is Jewish. Jerry says today he is doing what Jewish people and those who don’t celebrate Christmas do all over the country today.

“That’s what Jews do on Christmas, they go to the movies and eat Chinese food,” said Shemper.

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