Christmas Boxes

“Do not be angry with the rain;
it simply does not know how to fall upwards.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Russian-American Novelist

1899-1977

Today, Boxing Day, it rained and while I know that farmers and gardeners have been hoping for rain, those on their annual holidays will have been disappointed.

Here in New Zealand, we have Boxing Day as a National Holiday.  Boxing Day is the day following Christmas Day when traditionally, servants and tradesmen would receive gifts from their employers.  This was known as a “Christmas box”.

Wikipedia tells us   “The Oxford English Dictionary gives the earliest attestations from Britain in the 1830s, defining it as “the first week-day after Christmas-day, observed as a holiday on which post-men, errand-boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas-box”.

Growing up in Britain in the 1940s and 50s I remember tradesmen such as the milkman, postman, and coalman knocking on the door to collect Christmas boxes, usually money, in the week before Christmas. or the following week.  These were people we rarely saw but who obviously performed a service for us.

And again courtesy of Wikipedia we learn – “This is mentioned in Samuel Pepys’ diary entry for 19 December 1663. This custom is linked to an older British tradition: since they would have to wait on their masters on Christmas Day, the servants of the wealthy were allowed the next day to visit their families. The employers would give each servant a box to take home containing gifts, bonuses, and sometimes leftover food.”

Jump in puddles

 

But those of you who know me know that I am a Pluviophile – definition A lover of rain: someone who finds joy and peace f mind on rainy days.

Again, growing up in Britain, I was used to the rain and today’s rain was not heavy, just a gentle fall which would have been very good for the garden which has received no water since Friday.

And now some people return to work for the next three days before being off again for January 1 and 2.  Most offices are closed until January 8 but obviously, those in service industries, hospitals, hotels etc don’t close.  Somebody has to work through the holidays.

So another post full of absolutely useless information.  Except if you happen to play Trivial Pursuit over the holiday period, you might just find a use for some of this.

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21 responses to “Christmas Boxes

  1. Thanks! I thought it had something to do with the sport of boxing! So not useless info at all. Merry Christmas!

  2. i love the quote and the explanation )

  3. Here in Cuenca, everyone is back at work, except for those who have taken the week off to head to the coast.

  4. We were discussing the origin of the term Boxing Day and I was lecturing my ignorant family – thank you for corroborating my story 😀

  5. Although I already knew this, I always love reading about these things. Happy Boxing Day!!

  6. I never knew why it is called Boxing Day. Thank you! And Happy New Year my friend.

  7. Thanks Dor and best wishes are reciproated

  8. Hi Judith–Hope you had a great Christmas and Boxing Day and thanks for clearing up the debate about why it’s called “Boxing Day.”
    Hope you didn’t get too wet yesterday we’ve been having perfect summer weather up here.

    • Yes, we have been enjoying the weather too Thomas. But we were driving yesterday and so intermittant showers didn’t upset us and the garden looked good when we got here. Best wishes for 2018 to you and yours

  9. Oh, this was a delightful post! I did not know exactly what Boxing Day was and thought it was perhaps a time when you boxed up unwanted gift to return ha! Now I see the connection between the older British tradition and servants. I love the rain too! Cheers!

  10. Useless information??? Absolutely not! I call it entertainment. I enjoy reading about your life and getting to know you through tiny conversations.

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