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Christmas Day traditions alive and well in West Michigan

Chinese food and bowling have become staples for some on the holiday
Posted at 9:34 PM, Dec 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-25 23:15:19-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Most businesses in West Michigan are closed on Christmas Day, but a few spots stay open every year. Those places had their hands full with a busy holiday rush on Saturday.

Instead of jingle bells, phones do the ringing inside Rice Wok on Christmas Day.

While many people spend time at home celebrating with friends and family, it was just another day inside the Grand Rapids Chinese restaurant — an extremely busy day.

"A little bit out of my control, out of my ability," owner Yi Lang Yang told FOX 17 Saturday.

Yang said more than 200 people had picked up orders on Christmas, and that was still with two hours left before close. For most customers, the wait was not an issue.

“45 minutes, but it’s worth the wait," said Dory Schatbeimers, who was there picking up food for her family.

Bowling has become a bit of a Christmas tradition too. At least, that's the case for Anthony Tolbert and his family.

“One of my cousins just put it together," Tolbert told FOX 17. "He said, ‘Let’s start bowling on Christmas.’ After everybody eats, we come out and just start bowling.”

That tradition started ten years ago and has grown ever since. This year, he said 12 of his extended families hit the lanes for the holiday.

“We got grandparents, uncles, cousins, second cousins, nieces, nephews, all that," he said.

The staff at the Spectrum Entertainment Complex enjoy it too.

“It makes me smile," said Sarah Purins, manager at the complex. "I’m glad to see everybody coming together and enjoying. We have holiday music playing. It’s very humbling.”

The complex is open all year long — 365 days a year — giving families a place to gather when options are limited.

“We want families to be able to come in and enjoy," Purins said. "Bowling is a very universal hobby. We get a lot of people coming in after their family events.”

No matter how you celebrate, having a holiday tradition is what it's all about.

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