Between the gifts, the overeating and the family obligations, Christmas day can be hectic for anyone. But for Chicago sports fans, this year will be even more complicated.
Thanks to scheduling bordering on a holiday miracle, both the Bulls and Bears will play major away games Sunday, with the Bulls making their post-lockout debut against the L.A. Lakers and the Bears meeting with the Packers.
With both games scheduled to broadcast on national networks, many Chicago bars are opening their doors on the national holiday to accommodate fans who are opting for fandom over family time.
"We're a sports bar, and no self-respecting sports bar is going to be closed for the Bears/Packers game," says Scott Weiner, owner of Ukrainian Village sports bar The Fifty/50. The bar has never been open on Christmas day before, but when management started tossing around the idea of opening for the game, many on staff expressed an interest in working. Staff will have the majority of the day to spend with family before the bar opens at 6 p.m. for the 7:20 p.m. Bears game on NBC.
"Honestly, I have no expectations for the crowd," Weiner said. "We're full for every Bears game, but with the way the team has been playing and the holiday, it's hard to tell."
Among the numerous city sports bars opening Sunday are Lottie's Pub in Bucktown, Kelsey's in Lincoln Park, The Anthem in Ukrainian Village, O'Donovan's in North Center, Timothy O'Toole's in Gold Coast and The Scout Waterhouse & Kitchen in the South Loop.
Even fans watching the game from home are having to do some juggling to fit everything in.
Since the family celebrates together on Christmas Eve, Nancy Torres, 28, of Bucktown plans to dedicate Christmas to all things NBA.
"We hated the lockout and we're excited to see the Bulls back in action," says Torres, who's only scheduling conflict comes in trying to find a few hours in the afternoon to take her kids to see "The Adventures of Tintin" before the Bulls take the court at 4 p.m on ABC. "Missing the Bulls play the Lakers is not an option."
Colie Lumbreras and her family in Mundelein will be having Christmas dinner a little earlier than usual so they have time to watch the Bears.
"We are huge Bears fans," says Lumbreras, 22. "We'll have a game on in the background on Christmas usually, but…it's there as background noise. But this year since it's the Bears, and we're playing the Cheeseheads, we're making a point to…plop down for the game."
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