Wednesday, December 26, 2012

(His) Boxing Day

One way to enjoy Boxing day in Australia.
    Today (December 26th) is Boxing day. This holiday is celebrated almost exclusively in England and the other commonwealth countries including Canada, New Zealand and Australia. So what is Boxing day? The origins of the day are sketchy as there is no definitive answer, but there are at least two possible origins. The first is that the name originated because the servants (butlers, maids, nannies etc) had to work on Christmas day so the people they worked for could enjoy a meal together. The employers would give out gifts to their servants on the following day and were often presented in boxes. The other one is that the day after Christmas was when the charities handed out supplies to the poor in boxes. Regardless of who received something it is safe to say plenty of people got stuff in boxes on the day after Christmas and that is the reason it is called Boxing Day. Plus, it is a good excuse to have two days off for Christmas.

         So what do Australians do on Boxing Day? Since it is warm outside a lot of people go out and enjoy a day by the beach or the lake. There are also a few big sporting events on Boxing Day. There is a big cricket match between Australia and an international opponent and the Sydney to Hobart yacht race departs out of Sydney harbour. Our family would often pack up leftovers and put them in a picnic basket and head for the mountains where it was a good 10-20 degrees cooler for a picnic. It was always an adventure as we had no clue where we were going and the goat tracks my father preferred to use always presented the real possibility of rolling down the side of a mountain and being wrapped around a large tree. Pretty much Boxing Day was a day to spend with family and friends in the summer heat and having a day out before heading back to work, unless you were a student and then you still have 5 weeks before the next school bell rang.

Boxing Day in Chesapeake in 2010
        How do I celebrate Boxing Day these days in America? Well its not a holiday here so most of the time I am back at work. There have been a few years when I have been off but its usually because it falls on a weekend. There has been a couple of times that the weather fairy has been unusually cruel and decided to dump snow on me just to rub in the fact that it is not summer, no matter how much I want it to be. Come to think of it I am liking the idea of having that Christmas in July party and then heading to the ball park on the following day for a picnic. It will be nice and warm, I can sit in the shade and avoid the lobster look and since it's flat here I won't have to worry my Dad throwing me in the car and trying to tempt death on one of his infamous goat tracks. Who's up for a Christmas in July party?

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