In England, the day after Christmas, lords of the manor would box up leftover food and/or special presents for the help and others. I don’t remember when we Carlsons latched onto the holiday. Perhaps it was a lovely, giving continuation of Christmas day, a relaxing post-holiday family time. It certainly wasn’t that we had servants. Celebrating Boxing Day may have been part hereditary. My mother-in-law was British, and if I go back five generations on my mother’s side, we’re English, too. Whatever the original reason for our family celebrating – and we don’t need much reason – it’s Boxing Day today, and that puts a smile on all our faces. When we lived in Buffalo, NY, the day after Christmas, we would head the forty-five minutes north to Niagara-on-the-Lake, a quaint town with kiss of English to it.
Presently, there are boxes lying around every room of our house – once filled with Christmas gifts, some half-filled still with cookies or treats. Half of our family have boxed up their things and left for their own home. Our next door neighbor boxed up their belongings and abandoned their house to the bank. It was too hard for them to stay in a house where their tree-cutter died in the aftermath of last May’s storm. We Carlsons have boxed up our belongings many a time in various moves. We’ve lost several boxes in each move. On one move, it took us four years to sell our house. We rented that house, and lived in a work-provided house until we finally found a buyer – for about a third the price we’d paid for it. Because of the severe drop in price, we had to take out a second bank loan in order to sell our house, and wait eight years to build up enough finances (with help from relatives) in order to purchase another one of our own. From our last house move seven years ago, I know there are several of our boxes which must have landed in a distant town with the other person whom the moving company moved in the same moving van. Oh, why have I craved my foot bath-massager for over seven years v.s. just going out and buying another one?
One woman I knew would box up and tape down things she hadn’t used in a while. If after six months she hadn’t dug into the box, she’d take it to the Salvation Army. We have many new things this year. I think I’ll go fill up a couple of those boxes with things I haven’t used in a while, but I don’t think I’ll wait six months to see if I’ll use anything in it. After all, I’ve done without my foot bath-massager just fine.
I wonder what my characters are doing on Boxing Day? Would they give to the poor? Would they be traveling home? Would they be at work, like any other day? What are their wishes and wants on this day after Christmas?
Wishing you each a happy Boxing Day, spent with family, or spent giving away your excess, or spent writing!