There is no one way to celebrate Christmas. Some spend it with a home-cooked meal of ham and potatoes out of the oven while others prefer to completely take the day off (even from cooking). While untraditional, some prefer to bring home a few bags of cheeseburgers and perfectly cooked McDonald’s French fries to their family.
If you’re looking for the latter, I’ve listed the fast food places that are open and closed on Christmas Day in 2023 so you know your options. Will Santa be leaving a bag of your favorite fast food under the tree this year? Let’s find out.
Fast Food Places open on Christmas Day
Here is a list of fast food places that are open.
Get your favorite cheeseburgers and fries at McDonalds. You can expect this fast food chain to be open on Christmas Day. They might even have some specials like their Celebrations McFlurry or Double Big Mac. Whatever the case, McDonald’s is the go to place this Christmas Day to satisfy your hungry tummy.
Inside a McDonald’s in Nevada.
Another option for a fast yet tasty meal during Christmas Day is Burger King. With their flame-grilled beef patties, one can expect to bite into a juicy and delicious burger. Burger King also releases holiday specials on their menu during Christmastime. They used to have a Gingerbread Cookie Sundae and a $5 Double Whopper and small fries. So if you’re looking for a place to celebrate Christmas Day, head on over to a Burger King.
BK is open a Christmas Day.
As a general rule, do check your local Burger King for any changes in schedule since they’re known to reduce their hours during Christmas Day.
If you want chicken tenders, burgers, hotdogs, and limeade for Christmas Day, you can trust Sonic to be there for you. This drive-in is famously known for their car hops (waiters on roller skates delivering food to your car). Though not all Sonic offers their car hops anymore, you can rely on some good food instead.
Do check on the nearest Sonic location for any changes to their Christmas Day schedule as they might reduce their hours.
Jack in the Box
Tacos? Burgers? Or maybe chicken sandwiches? Well why not all 3? At Jack in the Box, you can get those and more. You can also get those cute mini tacos as a side order. Jack in the Box is a franchise so you might want to check your nearest store if their opening hours are reduced on Christmas day.
Jack in the Box menu prices.
Restaurants Open on Christmas Day
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, most restaurants are typically closed on December 25th. That means you might also be taking a break from work and would like to have a meal spent at a cozy restaurant. Below are some dine-in restaurants where you can spend a Christmas meal at:
Buffalo Wild Wings
Buffalo Wild Wings is known as a restaurant and sports bar with a specialty on fried chicken wings and tenders. They also serve tacos, burgers, crispy chicken sandwiches, and salads but the wings are the best seller. Paired with their sauces of your choice such as Honey BBQ, Lemon Pepper, and Mango Habanero, Buffalo Wild Wings is an ideal place to dine with friends, family or even just by yourself.
Buffalo Wild Wings operating hours are usually 11 am to 12 am but do note since this is a major holiday, hours might differ. Do call your nearest Buffalo Wild Wings to confirm whether or not they’ve shortened their hours for the holiday.
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
If you want a more upscale and formal meal this Christmas, consider Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.
The steakhouse has been around for over 50 years serving up quality steaks, chops, and seafood. They have everything from appetizers down to the mains and desserts. So if you’re looking for a fine dining experience on a special time of the year, check out Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.
Operating hours vary from location to location and they might be reducing their restaurant hours during Christmas day so call ahead before heading there and consider making a reservation. The dining room can fill up fast on the holiday.
Ruth’s Chris menu prices.
It’s not just pancakes served at IHOP or also known as the International House of Pancakes. They also serve a wide variety of meals such as appetizers, salads, burrito bowls, burgers and sandwiches, steak, turkey, and salmon. But since you’re already there, you might as well get one of their World Famous Buttermilk Pancakes and indulge.
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Celebrate Christmas mornings with a big hearty breakfast. At Waffle House, you can get exactly that since they’re known to serve big portions of their waffles, hash brown bowls, egg breakfasts, and more. But what if you’re not into breakfast? Don’t worry. Waffle House also serves lunch and dinner. Waffle House operates 24/7 and is open on Christmas Day so you can drop by anytime of the day or night.
Another diner that’s known to open on Christmas Day is Denny’s. They serve up some hearty platters for when you want to go big on your Christmas Celebrations. You can also choose to spend your breakfast, lunch, or dinner at Denny’s because the place is usually open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
Coffee Shops open on Christmas Day
Winter time and coffee pair well together so you might want to hit up these coffee shops on Christmas day:
Everyone’s reliable coffee shop Starbucks is expected to open all year round, including on Christmas Day. They’ll have special promotional treats during the most wonderful time of the year so keep your eyes peeled for those. Most Starbucks locations will generally close down early on Christmas between 2 pm – 4 pm local time so associates can spend the evening with their family.
Get to Starbucks early on Christmas Day.
If it’s coffee, tea, or hot chocolate you want, then you know you can count on Caribou Coffee. This coffee chain serves up a wide variety of beverages all year round. They also have food selections such as an all-day breakfast, lunch, and other snacks and sweets.
Caribou Coffee location.
Dunkin’ has started to rebrand into a coffee chain than a donut chain but don’t worry, they still sell donuts. So if you have the cravings for a hot cup of coffee along with a donut, Dunkin’ is the place to head to. Luckily, most Dunkin’ stores are open on Christmas Day.
Fast-Food Restaurants Closed on Christmas Day
Christmas is a major holiday in the United States so it’s no surprise that there will be a lot of restaurants and fast food places closed on December 25. Here are some of them:
Sad to say but your favorite chicken sandwich place will most definitely be closed on Christmas. As stated on their website, Chick-fil-A is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day so that their team members can spend time with their family and friends. You can head on to Chick-fil-A when the holidays are over.
Most Shake Shack locations are not open on Christmas Day. This New York-based burger chain is considered one of the big burger chains in America with locations worldwide. So if you want a really exceptional burger, head on to Shake Shack. As a disclaimer, the Las Vegas and JFK airport locations are known open on Christmas Day. In general, all other Shake Shack locations will be closed.
The famous West coast burger chain will unfortunately be closed on Christmas Day. In-N-Out won’t be open to the public until the holidays are over so in the meantime, you can rely on other burger chains and fast food places mentioned above that are open on December 25.
Closed on Christmas Day.
Chipotle is a chain of Tex-Mex restaurants known for serving customized taco or burrito bowls. Unfortunately, Chipotle is closed on Christmas Day. You’ll need to visit them after the holidays are over to satisfy your Tex-Mex cravings.
Inside a Chipotle location.
Wingstop is another popular chain that serves wings and chicken tenders. They’re known for their variety of flavors such as Lemon Pepper, Mango Habanero, and Cajun. However, you’ll need to visit them after Christmas to enjoy their wings since they’re mostly known to be closed during December 25th.
At Olive Garden, you’re sure to be full on their pastas, soups, salads, and unlimited servings of bread sticks. And it should be the ideal place to bring family and friends on Christmas Day. However, they’re closed on December 25 as stated on their website. This is to allow their team to spend time with friends and family.
Is it Fair to Restaurant Employees to Be Open on Christmas?
Is it fair for restaurant employees to work during a major holiday? I don’t think there’s any right or wrong answer this question. Like so many questions in life, it depends.
Keep in mind that not all employees celebrate Christmas. As a result, some employees may want to use the day to earn a little extra money instead of being at home.
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During the holiday season, especially on Christmas Day, patrons often feel more generous and festive. This can translate to them leaving bigger tips for the staff. At upscale restaurants like Ruth’s Chris, where the bill amounts are already high, this can mean a significant increase in the tips an employee might receive compared to a regular day.
Back in college when I was employed as a waiter part-time, I used to love working in the days leading up to Christmas. I knew I would be rewarded with much better tips than usual. Fast forward a couple decades, I would rather stay at home with my kids to celebrate.
Some restaurants might offer additional perks that further incentivize staff to work on Christmas. These perks could include a special meal, bonuses, or even gifts. These perks, combined with the increased pay and potential for higher tips can make working on Christmas Day very appealing.
When Christmas Day 2023 comes around, remember to check out this guide again to know where you’ll be heading out with family and friends. Who knows, you might spot Santa and his reindeer while you’re out and about.