Most Americans recognize the day after Christmas as a day to box up all the unwanted gifts to return them to the stores and exchange them for other items. Of course, it’s also a day to take advantage of reduced merchandise and after Christmas sales.
Although Boxing Day may sound like a good opportunity to throw an uppercut at an unsuspecting person, it has nothing to do with gloves or punching bags. However, I can think of a few people that deserve a few sucker-punches.
With my DH being a transplant from Scotland, we’ve attempted to capture the true essence of this British holiday and have adopted some of the Boxing Day traditions into our holiday season.
Carb loading typically begins our Boxing Day festivities. Each Boxing Day, Allan prepares a big cooked English breakfast, which includes scrambled eggs, sausage, fried tomatoes and mushrooms, bacon (the American kind unfortunately), Heinz baked beans, warm buttered toast and chunky sautéed potatoes doused in malt vinegar. A traditional, “sweaty” breakfast (as Allan calls it) is absolutely necessary to offer the fuel required for the rest of our Boxing Day festivities.
To honor this British holiday, I provide each of my girls with a box to fill with items to give to the needy. With all the excitement over all their new Christmas toys and clothes, they are usually more willing to part with their old belongings. As they carry their box from room to room, they gather old toys and clothes.
On occasion, new items are added to their boxes as well. Every Christmas, my girls receive a mountain of gifts from family members and some of these gifts remain sealed in cellophane only to suffer the same fate as the inhabitants of the Island of Misfit Toys. Therefore, over the years, we’ve taught our girls to share their extra gifts with children less fortunate. Children in homeless shelters still long for gifts after Christmas and our excessiveness could help make a needy child’s birthday a happier one.
In addition to toys and clothes, I also weed through my cupboards and pantries to find items to help restock a food bank. We often think of food banks during the holidays, but their need continues through the year.
As I mentioned in a previous post, homeless shelters have seen an increasing number of families in need this year. Yet, donations to charitable organizations in the Tampa Bay area were down nearly 50% this holiday season.
If you choose to shop today, please remember those in need while you hunt for bargains and join us in celebrating Boxing Day the way it was originally intended.
As we assembled our boxes for a photo to record our Boxing Day observation for my blog, I heard a slight jingling sound coming from Allana’s box. This year Allana decided to add a coin purse full of 30 pennies, a 20 pence coin and a 5 pence coin, because she wanted to give money to the needy as well as food, clothing and toys. Though I was deeply moved by Allana’s generosity, it struck me funny to discover a touch of Britain in our American version of Boxing Day.