Thursday, December 25, is a Very Big Holiday. And it seems like everything is shuttered. Not so. We’ve come up with plenty of things to do that day, Jewish and not Jewish. So go ahead and enjoy!
1. Magical moments
Come to the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades and be wowed by the magic and comedy act performed by David Caserta, who was recently showcased on “America’s Got Talent.” The show runs from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Caserta is known especially for the art of illusion and for letting the audience in on the act. Tickets for the hour-long show are $10 for adults and $8 for kids who are members, $12 and 10 for nonmembers. After the show, hang out at the center and work up a sweat as you work out. For tickets, go to www.jccotp.org, call Michal at (201) 408-1467, or email her at mkleiman@jccotp. JCC on the Palisades, 411 E. Clinton Ave., Tenafly.
2. Camp for the family at the Bergen YJCC
Camp in the winter? Of course. Head over to the YJCC in Washington Township for a family day of camp and fun from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The free community event will include programmed activities with a camp theme. In addition, the indoor pools will be open, and there will be ceramics, Gaga, ping-pong, and Wii games. This special day is free for YJCC members and guests, who are requested to bring photo ID. Activities include adult yoga at 9 a.m.; an adult Booty Camp group fitness class, PJ Library storybook theater featuring Mainstages, open gym, camp crafts, and a scavenger hunt, all at 10 a.m.; yoga and karate for kids beginning at 10:15 a.m.; “Camp Rock” movie at 11:30 a.m.; inflatable slide at noon; and obstacle course and “campfire stories” at 12:30 p.m. The YJCC is at 605 Pascack Road. (201) 666-6610.
3. Explore Jewish museums
Many of Manhattan’s Jewish cultural institutions are open and hosting special family activities on Christmas Day. Hit the Museum at Eldridge Street to groove to Klez for Kids, go on scavenger hunts and learn Yiddish. Museum at Eldridge Street Synagogue, 12 Eldridge St. (212) 219-0302, www. eldridgestree.org. Or catch Timbalooloo, a family concert by Oran Etkin, 11:30 a.m. at the Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave., Manhattan. (212) 423-3200, www.thejewishmuseum.org. Or check out artists in action during art week at the Jewish Children’s Museum, 792 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn. (718) 907-8833, www.jcm.museum.
4. One, two, three, math
Even if the kiddies are off from school, they can still do a little math. Explore the Museum of Mathematics, which is open on the holiday. MoMath, 11 E. 26 St., Manhattan, (212) 542-0566, www.momath.org.
5. Yuk it up
Get a few laughs in a “Christmas Day for the Jews, “a stand-up comedy special featuring funny folks Jon Fisch of “Late Night” with David Letterman, Cory Kahaney from Last Comic Standing, and Avi Lieberman of Craig Ferguson. The show starts at 8 p.m. Dinner at 6 p.m. at the City Winery. www.citywinery.com.
6. Catch a Broadway or other show
A handful of Broadway shows play on Christmas Day, including family faves “Cinderella,” which closes in early January, “Matilda,” and “Wicked.” Get into the spirit of the season by catching a performance of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular or the Big Apple Circus: Metamorphosis.
7. Play tourist in Manhattan
Times Square’s Madame Tussauds, Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Odditorium and Discovery Times Square (featuring Marvel’s Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. The Exhibition) are all open on December 25. If you’d rather play games, arcade/restaurant Dave & Buster’s is open, too. Other tourist spots with holiday hours include the Empire State Building and Top of the Rock.
8. Cook Jewish
Get into the kitchen and whip up some chicken soup, latkes (oh, you’ve already eaten too many!) or an omelet. Better yet, check out the new “Secret Restaurant Recipes From the World’s Top Kosher Restaurants” by Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek (Mesorah Publications) for the most scrumptious restaurant-worthy dishes. A local bonus: the beautiful cookbook includes recipes from our very own Gotham Burger and Etc. Steakhouse, both in Teaneck, and Lakewood’s Carlos & Gabby’s and Estreia. Now who needs to go out to eat?
9. Whistle while you work
While it seems like most of world is enjoying a vacay day, plenty of employees, such as those in the 24/7 services, are working. You can fill in for a colleague who needs the day off to spend with their family. Or just enjoy the quieter, low-key atmosphere of the less-populated office.
Never got around to reading that book because you’re too busy? It’s the perfect day to pick up a Jewish book, or any book for that matter, and spend some time expanding your mind. Why not check out the local synagogues for any learning programs or classed that they be hosting that day.
11. Catch a flick
The recently refurbished Teaneck Cinemas on Cedar Lane is celebrating its second Christmas showing films. Christmas releases include, “Annie,” with Quvenzhane Wallis and Jamie Foxx playing the 21st century incarnations of the comic-strip orphan and her billionaire benefactor; “Night at the Museum 3,” with the late Robin Williams and Ben Stiller, and “Into the Woods,” with Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt and Johnny Depp in a modern twist on several Brothers Grimm fairy tales. As a kashrut food bonus: The Teaneck Cinemas sells kosher popcorn and other kosher candy in its concession stand. But, if you don’t want to venture out, chill at home with your choice of Neflix, Hulu or cable. Teaneck Cinemas, 503 Cedar Lane, Teaneck.
12. Doing good is good
Chesed is the name of the Christmas Day game. Why not see if there is a soup kitchen or nursing home in your area that you can visit, to brighten the day of those who are less fortunate. What a great gift it is to be able to bring cheer to others.