Wednesday, October 22, 2008

WFMW--Boxing Day

I know, Halloween is right around the corner and I should be focused on that. But with two Buzz Lightyear costumes winging their way to our house via eBay right now, and a humongous hoarde of Candy I Like in the closet on a shelf where I can't reach it, I'm feeling under control in that department.

Which brings us to Christmas.

I know. Shoot me now. But our extended family has started the (mostly) good natured bickering about who celebrates what where. ("Ok, you can have Thanksgiving, but then I get Easter.")

Traditionally, my mother in law would host a huge Christmas brunch, everyone in church clothes, followed by the collected family shredding in to gifts from each other.

But as time went on, and we were going to different churches and enfolding other families' traditions with our own, that got tougher to do. Add to that my mother-in-law's knee issues, three people who work in hospitals who don't get time off automatically, and a partridge in a pear tree, and something had to give.

So last year, on Christmas night, we got together with the extended families and all celebrated together in the traditional style. But my husband's immediate family still wanted to do something with "just" them and their kids. (You know, an intimate celebration for 20.)

Enter Boxing Day.

In Britain and Canada, December 26 is Boxing Day, which has modern connotations of underlings being the boss for the day and other silliness. But the tradition started with servants in the grand houses in England being given the day after Christmas to celebrate with their families. (After all, who would prepare serve Christmas dinner without them?) So, when the festivities were over, the servants would box up leftovers for themselves (and presumably their employers) to enjoy the next day.

So, in homage to the original idea, we have adopted Boxing Day as our family celebration day.

We still have stockings and the piles of presents to plow through. But we come far more casually dressed. And most important, the rule on food is: It has to come out of a box.

Boxed wine. Pizza. KFC. Trader Joe's hors d'oeuvres and spinach-artichoke dip. Triscuits. And so on. And, also in keeping with the original, leftovers from dinner the night before.

The shift workers came after work. The bargain hunters met early and did frantic post-Christmas shopping. The kids played with the trains in Grandfather's basement without worrying about their party clothes. (OK, without their parents worrying about their party clothes.) It made it a wonderful, lower-key holiday, and I put it out there now for any of you struggling with planning for the holidays, or even looking for a fun post-holiday party theme.

Boxing Day with a twist--it Works for Me! Wanna see what works for other people? Go to Shannon's blog. But I bet you knew that already.


Mrs. Querido said...

It was interesting to hear the story behind Boxing Day...I live in the States but had always wondered why it was called boxing day. It brought to mind guys in a ring ready to duke it The real reason makes more sense :)

Popped over from WFMW

brandy101 said...

Usually I make the Christmas Eve meal for at least part of the family at my mom*s house while my sister and mom take the kids to Mass. The one day of the year I give myself a pass on Mass, since I am doing the *good deed* of cooking the meal for everyone.

Then we have breakfast at my moms the next day with at least one sister and her kids, and then everyone cleans up, and then we have a late lunch/early dinner with everyone and USED to do present madness for all. But THIS year we are doing a pollyana - each person just buys a gift (based on a pre-written wishlist from the receiver) spending limit of $100 for ONE other adult (but we all buy gifts for the 3 kids of the family)

I am happy about this b/c it means less shopping, less wrapping, less crap to cart home, and obviously, much less money to spend.

THEN on the 26th, since we are in PA and my daughters b-day is the following week, we traditionally all go to *Wanamakers* for the light show then on to South Philly to Marras for a big family dinner and b-day party for Emma.

Kelly said...

Boxing day sounds just like my Christmas! (Ahem....I guess I fall into the category of hospital workers who don't get the holidays off?!?!) As hard as it was for my family to have "real" Christmas without me, they loved the 2 day extended celebration! I may be going home for Christmas, but I'm thinking I may be crashing the Lynch family Easter. =)