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Celebrating Christmas

December 25. The day that everything is closed, and there’s nothing to do but go to the movies, eat Chinese food, and lounge around home. After all, that’s how the Chosen People spend Christmas. But the city that never sleeps doesn’t really sleep on Christmas either. Here are some ideas for exciting going-ons around New York City for this coming Tuesday.

If you want to be cliche and just go to a movie on Christmas, the much anticipated Les Miserables finally debuts December 25 at midnight. Some theaters are even offering late night showings on December 24. The movie is being advertised throughout the streets of New York. Large screens in Times Square highlight what looks to be a musical masterpiece. Will the movie meet its high expectations? Find out this Noel.

So if you’d rather see something that’s sure to be good, the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life is showing at the IFC center at 1PM. James Stewart and Donna Reed will not disappoint in this wonderful movie about hope and the joy of living.

Well it is holiday season, and that means Channukah just passed. What else to remind you of Channukah but the Maccabeats, singing about candlelight at the B.B. King Blues club? But maybe the Maccabeats aren’t your thing. Maybe you’d prefer to hear Soulfarm lead into Christmas on December 24, again at the B.B. King Blues club. C. Lanzbom’s project lately released Holy Grail (2010), and the New York based jam Rock Jewish band is sure to raise your spirits

If you’re done sitting around, and need to get outside, try the free Fun Run in Central Park, brought to you by Team Just One Life. The 3.1 mile race begins at 2PM at 72nd and Central Park West, and free snacks will be provided after the race.

Perhaps you don’t want to exercise at all, and just want to watch other people sweat up a storm. If so, the Brooklyn Nets host the Boston Celtics at the recently opened Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. The game starts at 12PM.

Or maybe you don’t want to move at all on Christmas, and just want to watch the game from home or would rather just read a book in bed. Try the recently released graphic novel Building Stories, a box of 14 distinct bits and pieces of a comic book, totaling 260 pages. This non-linear, colorful “novel” took Chris Ware a decade to create and addresses themes across creative culture. Another recently released entertaining and thought-provoking book is Dear Editor. The book is an anthology of prose poetry, all written from a poet to editors as she seeks publication.

Although not on open on Christmas itself, the New York Botanical Gardens is exhibiting their annual Holiday Train Show. Check it out through January 13 to see 140 replicas of original buildings in New York, from the Brooklyn Bridge to the 42nd Street NYPL. Train models cover a quarter mile of track in the Conservatory, winding through the historic buildings.

The annual Radio City Christmas Spectacular is pricey, but if features The Rockettes. Described by The New York Times as “simply magnificent,” the show is sure to be more dazzling in real life than it is on TV. And why not take advantage of the opportunity and see it in person? Just don’t tell Bubby.

The Jewish Museum, not surprisingly, remains open on Christmas. Head to the Upper West Side to view exhibits in their permanent collection such as “Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey” or new exhibits like “Crossing Borders: Manuscripts from the Bodleian Libraries.” Admission is only $7.50 for students.

Or maybe you want to take advantage of the day off and spend December 25 volunteering and bettering the world around you. If so, head to Brooklyn and Queens for four rallies for Agunot with ORA. These women’s husbands have been withholding gets from their wives from a year to thirteen years. Transportation is available from Washington Heights and from Midtown. Serve meals to the homeless at the Prospect Park YMCA, or look up The Holiday Project to visit patients in hospitals around the tri-state area and brighten their day.

However you choose to spend the holiday, whether its Chinese and a movie, playing Santa, sledding, or just doing nothing on at all, don’t worry. Because on this day of other days, it’s up to you how you celebrate.