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Chinese-Food-and-a-Movie Evenings

Since time immemorial, the Chosen People have observed one December 25 custom: mu-shu chicken and a trip to the talkies. For every family subset, here's a way to have yourself a haimish little Christmas night.

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1. The Hard-to-Please
It's tough to go wrong with Michael Tong's Shun Lee, itself a tradition and just a dumpling's toss from Lincoln Square. (Shun Lee, 43 West 65th Street, 212-595-8895; Sony Lincoln Square, 1998 Broadway, at 68th Street.)

2. The Intelligentsia
Trouble pleasing your family's turtlenecked set? Their highbrow cred will be safe at the Angelika, conveniently close to Kelley and Ping's fashionable Pan-Asian food. (Kelley and Ping, 127 Greene Street, 212-228-1212; CC Angelika Film Center, 18 West Houston Street.)

3. The Somnolent
For something authentic, try Grand Sichuan, where there's enough chili to jolt you back to life even after the third Harry Potter viewing. (Grand Sichuan International, 229 Ninth Avenue, at 24th Street, 212-620-5200; Clearview's Chelsea, 260 West 23rd Street.)

4. The Out-of-Towners
The crowds in Times Square and roisterous Ruby Foo's will make you feel like you've seen a movie even if you don't make it to the theater. (Ruby Foo's, 1626 Broadway, at 49th Street, 212-489-5600; AMC Empire 25, 234 West 42nd Street.)

5. The Vegetarians
If your kids, home from college, not only keep meat and dairy separate but have forsworn both, visit the surprisingly good (if not exactly classic) Zen Palate, and avoid a holiday sermon. (Zen Palate, 34 Union Square East at 16th Street, 212-614-9291; UA Union Square, Broadway at 13th Street.)


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