Cooking up a large feast for the holidays is a great way to spend time with loved ones, but sometimes it just feels like way too much work.

You've already spent time wrapping the presents, dealing with squealing kiddos and playing host to extended family — why not take a break from kitchen duty?

Some tips (see what we did there?) will help make sure you're not standing in front of a closed restaurant with a carful of people:

  • Double-check the hours. Some franchise locations may/may not be open
  • Check to see if reservations are required. Christmas seating can be tricky
  • Expected a limited menu; special menus make it easier for everyone
  • Tip generously; it's Christmas, after all!

Here is a list of popular restaurants open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, with extra details on any special deals and holiday dishes.

RESTAURANTS OPEN ON CHRISTMAS EVE

Buffalo Wild Wings: Open - Buffalo Wild Wings will stay open with regular hours from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Christmas Eve (so technically you can ring in Christmas Day if you stay late enough). The wing chain's website says "most" stores close on Christmas Day, but it's always worth a phone call if you have a hankering for wings and "shareables."

Chick-fil-A: Open - This chicken chain always keeps its doors closed on Sunday, but that doesn't mean it's closed on every holiday. Yes, Chick-fil-A will be closed on Tuesday, Dec. 25 (Christmas Day), but most locations will be open on Christmas Eve, so if you want to leave Santa some nuggets and waffle fries to help fuel his midnight sleigh ride, you can definitely pick up a few boxes of food.

City Cafe: Open 24 hours Christmas Eve - All three of City Cafe's locations (Chattanooga, Lee Highway and Cleveland) will be open, and featuring their full menu and an amazing list of desserts!

Cracker Barrel: Limited hours - Cracker Barrel locations will remain open until 2 p.m. on Christmas Eve, however, the restaurant will be closed on Christmas Day.

Olive Garden: Open, varies by location - Olive Garden closes on Christmas to allow staff time off to be with their friends and families. But if you're craving some unlimited breadsticks (we're looking at you, Jimmy Fallon) on Christmas Eve, most locations will be open on Monday, Dec. 24. The website says to call your location ahead of time, though, as some restaurants may close a little early.

RESTAURANTS OPEN ON CHRISTMAS DAY

Applebee's: Varies by location - Many Applebee's restaurants will stay open on both Christmas Eve and Christmas, but that decision is up to the store managers' discretion. So call ahead to see if the hours have been changed before you head out to your local neighborhood grill and bar.

Boston Market: Open (Atlanta) - If you're craving the fixings of a regular holiday feast, Boston Market is offering up a Christmas Day meal, to take out or eat in. It includes individual meals or feasts for multiple diners with options like hand-carved ham, sliced turkey breast or rotisserie chicken, plus two sides, dinner rolls and pie.

Buca Di Beppo: Open (Nashville, Atlanta) - Enjoy a family-style spread at this Italian restaurant, which will open at 11 a.m. for lunch and dinner on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Buca di Beppo will also cater your event if you want a Christmas party at home without the fuss.

Burger King: Limited hours - Burger King is typically open from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. but on Christmas Day, but many locations will have limited hours this year. Just call the restaurant near you before popping in for a 100-nugget feast for $10.

City Cafe: Open 11:00am-10:00pm - A fixture in the Tennessee Valley, all three of City Cafe's locations (Chattanooga, Lee Highway and Cleveland) will be open, and featuring menu items such as Roast prime Rib and Yankee Pot Roast. They'll even have to-go, pick up and delivery options available, including dessert!

Denny's: Open - Does anyone else think of "The Santa Clause" with Tim Allen when they think of Christmas Eve dinner? Maybe that's just us but this diner-style chain does stay open on Christmas Eve and Christmas. The opening hours will be the same as usual, but there will be some new festive flavors on the menu to enjoy like pumpkin spice pancakes or turkey and dressing.

Dunkin': Open until 1:00pm - Sometimes, a cup of good coffee (and maybe even a doughnut) are just enough, especially if you're headed over the river and through the wood to grandmother's house. Besides doughnuts, they have breakfast sandwiches which includes the limited-time Holiday Spice Bacon breakfast sandwich, Cinnamon Sticky Bun latte and Dear Santa doughnut.

IHOP: Open - Let's not hold that "International House of Burgers" thing against them. You can grab breakfast virtually any time of day. Hours may vary, but generally, you can trust that the 24-hour locations will be open to get your pancake fix.

McDonald's: Varies by location - Many McDonald's locations will stay open on Christmas Eve and Christmas, but the hours are at the discretion of franchise owners. So just call ahead before swinging through for a Big Mac. If you're lucky, you might even be able to find its elusive, custard-filled holiday pie.

Ruth's Chris Steak House: Open - More of a sit-down, fine-dining experience, Ruth's Chris will offer their full menu, but reservations are required.

Waffle House: Open - Waffle House prides itself on being open 24 hours, 365 days a year and usually only closes for a major catastrophic event, like a hurricane. If the family is craving breakfast for dinner on Christmas Eve or Christmas, this Southern-based chain is a great option.