Unless you are still sleeping off yesterday’s hot mulled wine or spiked eggnog, you know it’s the day after Christmas, but what you might not realize is that December 26th is actually a holiday in some parts of the world. Great Britain and Canada, as well as other Commonwealth nations, celebrate Boxing Day, while many Catholic countries mark the day as St. Stephen’s Day. In Ireland, the day is known as “The Day of the Wren,” and in some southern US states, December 26th is feted with the most unimaginative name ever: the “Day After Christmas Day.”
Vicki Doudera here. In Maine we don’t celebrate any of these things, which is unfortunate, because if the world is divided between people who like holidays and those who don’t, I come down squarely in the camp of those who love them. The more occasions to whoop it up, the happier I am. Wren Day, St. Stephen’s Day… I’d take any one of these monikers, although the name I prefer and the occasion I’d most like to mark would be Boxing Day.
For one thing, it’s fun to say, just like any word with an “x.” (Go ahead, say it out loud and see what I mean.) Someone once told me that the origin of the name lay in all the empty boxes laying around after Christmas, but I’ve since learned that’s balderdash. Most historians believe Boxing Day began because working class folk received their gifts, known as a “Christmas box,” from their bosses on the day following Christmas. Since these servants and tradespeople spent the day of Jesus’ birth working, they were given the day after off from their jobs to celebrate.
I will not be taking today off, although I would like to. Instead, I’m spending the day putting away all of those aforementioned boxes, getting my kitchen back in order after serving some terrific holiday meals, and organizing my office so I can start in earnest on a new writing project in January. (More to come on that next month.) Generally, this is the way I usually roll on the day after Christmas: I clean up and reflect, ease myself back into the world of winter and work, catch my breath after a whirlwind of a month.
What about you? Do you enjoy any special December 26th traditions? Here’s hoping your holidays this month were bright, no matter what they were, and that 2015 finds you happy and healthy wherever you are.