Just When You Thought It was Time for a Nap – Boxing Day

Bûche de Noël - the Yule Log cake my French Canadian friend brought for Christmas Eve.

With so many nationalities in one place, nearly every month there is a National Day or a religious holiday.  During the Christmas holidays our expatriate friends substitute for our blood family and the holidays become a whirlwind of festivities as everyone makes an effort to celebrate.

And because wives cannot work, we have the time to plan parties.

Irish Christmas Lunch

The eating fest started last Wednesday when my Irish friend hosted a ladies’ Christmas lunch complete with appetizers, soup, main course, pudding (English for dessert) and the final cheese plate.  Every day since, it has been an amazing array of non-stop dinners, shopping, wrapping, hiding presents, decorating, cooking, and getting dressed up.

Christmas Day Dinner

Last night around 10pm after our Christmas Day dinner, I literally thought my stomach was going to pop.  We had eaten three large meals in a row – Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day Brunch and Christmas Day Dinner.

And today, December 26th, is Boxing Day.  Almost every Western country but the USA celebrates something today.

Yesterday a British lady told me Boxing Day was the day they threw out their old boxers to make room for their new clothes.  Last night my American friend who was raised in London corrected that modern day interpretation.  She said the day after Christmas the servants were given the day off to visit their friends and family.  The leftover food was boxed up and taken for their celebrations.

In the UK commonwealth, December 26th is a national holiday.  Sporting events, like fox hunts, are held.  It is also the day to visit the friends who you would have preferred celebrating with but could not because of family obligations.  And like every other holiday in the US, Boxing Day has evolved into another shopping day as the stores start their sales.

The Stoning of Saint Stephen (1625) by Rembrandt

My Irish ancestors celebrated Saint Stephen’s Day on December 26th.  St. Stephen was the first Christian martyr stoned to death by a mob for blasphemy.  The story is traditionally boys stoned wrens on this day because a wren betrayed St. Stephen.

In Sweden where my maternal ancestors came from, the 26th  was the second of the twelve days of Christmas and a different St. Stephen was remembered.  In old Sweden, horses were raced or drunken men sang carols while riding on horseback from village to village.

This evening our British friends invited us over for a Boxing Day party.

What I need to figure out in the next six hours is whether I should make a meat pie from the leftover turkey, borrow a horse and a guitar or just gather up our old underwear to distribute among the guests.


Tales by Chapter

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