The weather is growing colder, the days are growing shorter, and Christmas is just a couple of weeks away. There's something unique about this particular holiday, even for those who don't celebrate. After all, when else would families coming together en masse signal the consumer world grinding to a halt across the country?
Although the majority of business owners and employees will be staying home on Dec. 25, there are 10 rebels in or around Woodstock that are sticking it out, and a few of them may come as a surprise.
Coffee is arguably the most important part of any morning that sees thousands of people rising before the sun to prepare a holiday feast. Starbucks will be serving its famous seasonal creations in Towne Lake and Woodstock from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Christmas, to help get you going and keep you going long after the last mouthful of cranberry sauce is gone.
If a little down home tradition is on the wishlist this winter, then a visit to America's most widely recognized diner may be in order. Doors are open all 24 hours of Christmas Day at The Waffle House, a reassuring gesture to customers that, no matter what time of year, those legendary hashbrowns are always just an order away.
Then again, perhaps tradition isn't your style, and you prefer to spend the day at play. If that's the case, Woodstock's bowling alley may be the holiday hot spot for you. The bowling alley will be open for the long haul, with Christmas Day hours starting at 2 p.m. and going well into the night, shutting down at 1 a.m.
7. Saigon Cafe
For the family with a cultural palette, Saigon Cafe on Highway 92 will be serving up their delectable chicken satay and various Thai specialties from 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., with a call ahead option for fast and tasty take-out.
There's no denying that the holidays are hectic. From shortages of necessary ingredients to the unexpected need for gallons (and gallons) of soft drinks for guests, Baxter Grocery knows that life never goes just as planned. They will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. to help remedy those little yuletide disasters.
Looking for something crafty to do? Earth Paint and Fire offers pottery, painting and just a creative outlet for you to escape to on Christmas Day. You can go with the whole family or peacefully on your own to work on a masterpiece. If you aren't the most gifted of artists, they do offer "helpers" ranging from stencils to photographs to individuals who will do the work for you for a small fee. The studio will be open from noon till 6 p.m.
Celebrate the "reason for the season" through faith and worship at Saint Michael the Archangel Church. While most religious institutions in town do a late service on Christmas Eve, this Catholic house of worship prefers to welcome believers in on Dec. 25 each year. Mass begins bright and early at 9 a.m., so bundle up the family, brave the cold and come together in prayer with this dedicated congregation.
If you're up for a quick drive, there are two equally delicious dining options open just south of Woodstock.
The Marietta Diner is a beloved and well reputed 24-hour landmark in Marietta, with a name that all but disguises the treasures to be found on its menu. Dishes such as the saucy Salmon Monte Carlo or the downright decadent Butterfinger Cheesecake are sure to put you properly in the holiday spirit.
Pacific Buffet is located in just at Barrett Parkway and Chastain, and with over 200 tasty items to choose from and a vast supply of creations from the talented sushi team, it's well worth the few minutes of driving it takes to get there. The buffet will be open from 12:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
2. China Fun
Not everybody is up to the challenge of braving these frosty December streets for a meal, however, and a comfortable spot on the couch may take precedent to a drive around town. Luckily for those of us who prefer to stay indoors on chilly days, China Fun delivers from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Christmas, and their online menu keeps things moving quickly and conveniently.
Finally, for the dinner and a movie crowd, the GTC Cherokee 16 theater is ready to entertain you with the latest blockbusters as they would on every other day of the year, opening at 2 p.m. and closing at 10:30 p.m.
However you mark this time of year, whether it's with a full-scale celebration or a quiet evening of relaxation, you can always find something fun to do around Woodstock, even on Christmas Day.