At 6:00 am this morning, the first thing Tom said to me was, “Happy Boxing Day.” I chuckled. This isn’t a holiday we usually observe in our world travels unless we are in one of the countries that celebrate the day, which includes England, Wales, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and South Africa. In Ireland, it is known as St. Stephen’s Day.
We have spent 5 of the last 12 Christmases in countries that observe this particular day, December 26, in Australia(1) and South Africa (4). I can’t say we did anything special on Boxing Day, but we were aware of it based on our surroundings.
From this website, here is information about Boxing Day:
“Boxing Day, in Great Britain and some Commonwealth countries, particularly Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, was a holiday (December 26) on which servants, tradespeople, and the poor were traditionally presented with gifts. By the 21st century, it had become a day associated with shopping and sporting events.
Explanations for the origin of the name have varied, with some believing that it derived from the opening of alms boxes that had been placed in churches to collect donations to aid the poor. Others, however, have held that it came from the boxes of gifts given to employees on the day after Christmas. According to this theory, because the work of servants was required for the Christmas Day celebrations of their employers, they were allowed the following day for their own observance of the holiday. The practice of giving bonuses to service employees has continued, although it is now often done before rather than after Christmas Day.
When December 26 comes on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday is designated as the official public holiday. December 26 is also the feast day of St. Stephen (St. Stephen’s Day), the patron saint of horses, and Boxing Day has come to be a day of sporting events, including horse races, foxhunting, and rugby. Traditional foxhunting was modified in 2005 after the enactment of legislation in England and Wales that largely banned the use of hounds in hunts. The holiday was not perpetuated by the English in the American colonies.”
We had a pleasant Christmas Day. We talked to all of our kids and most of our grandkids. The turkey breast we cooked in the oven came out moist and delicious. We don’t have a grill here, but we’re fine using the oven. With several sides, it was a lovely dinner.
In the evening, we watched a wonderful movie on Netflix, “The Bank of Dave,” which we highly recommend as a perfect “feel good” movie for the holidays. The previous night, we streamed “I Can Only Imagine,” also on Netflix, another moving story worth watching.
Each day over the past week, I’ve been heading to the well-equipped fitness center in this building and working out on the stationary bike and treadmill. Slowly, I am building up stamina while carefully watching my heart rate. I am thrilled with my progress, especially after my 20-pound weight loss. I didn’t eat anything extra over Christmas and don’t intend to for the remainder of the holiday season and into the future.
Tom has been enjoying the 10 pounds of jelly-type candies he bought at Fleet Farm in Minneapolis when he flew there for the Union Christmas party a week ago today and also the two large pies he picked up at Costco: a pumpkin and an apple. The remaining pumpkin pie got moldy overnight, and he tossed it in the garbage last night and instead got to work on the apple pie. This “food police” person has kept her mouth shut while he’s enjoying things he can’t buy in other countries.
We had dinner with Richard on Saturday, Tom’s birthday, and will most likely try one of the restaurants downstairs in The Village this coming Saturday evening. With the cost of dining out so high in the US, most likely, we’ll only dine out once a week. In the meantime, we are enjoying home-cooked meals with easy availability of ingredients we only find in the US. When we return to South Africa in June, we can restart our Friday and Saturday night dining-out routine at Jabula. How fun that was!
For those who celebrate, have a fantastic Boxing Day, and for those who do not, have a fantastic day as well.
Photo from ten years ago today, December 26, 2013: