By Rachel Wulff

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – ‘Twas the night of Christmas and all through the house, not a loved one was willing to cook with their spouse.

Most restaurants were closed as folks drove place to place ’til they came upon one where they had enough space.

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We saw some chains like Denny’s or IHOP open, but it’s the mom and pops that bank on burnout Christmas night

Whether you were looking for a quick bite or a big meal, Christmas night can mean slim pickings. Most restaurants were closed around town. But we found a few that were open.

“Our family isn’t all together this year. They love ‘Christmas Story,’ so we had a great idea to come to Chinese food for dinner,” said Christina Emerson.

A relative said, “The baby had Chinese for the first time, and half ended up on the floor.”

Emerson and her family hit the Szechuan Garden on San Juan Avenue in Fair Oaks, walking there.

“You can see the house from here,” she said.

Others had to really search for a place.

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“We live in Carmichael and we kept widening our search to find something we ended up driving 15 miles to get here,” said Ron Squires.

Inside, a wait for dine-in or takeout. And the back kitchen was slammed. The owners say it’s been like this every Christmas for the last 14 years – but nobody seems to care.

“There is a feeling of comradery here,” said one man.

Christmas tunes soothed the hungry souls at Buca Di Beppo on Howe Avenue, where the line stretched out the door. The restaurant was on a three-hour wait.

“An hour wait for us, it’s worth it. We are bonding,” said SharMila Shaw.

Folks taking a night off, reminiscing and remembering the reason for the season.

“Jakob and I have been a family in transition for five years,” said Melanie Gallardo.

For Gallardo – who is homeless – and her 22-year-old son who has autism, it didn’t have to be fancy. This Jack in the Box was fine to count their blessings.

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“We are grateful we had a room share so we don’t have to sleep in our can anymore in the hospital parking lot,” said Gallardo.