Let’s have Boxing Day here in Naperville
By BILL MEGO email@example.com December 25, 2012 10:26PM
Heather Eidson/Staff Photographer
Updated: January 27, 2013 6:13AM
Are you sorry that Christmas is over? Well, why not take a clue from the rest of the English speaking world and extend it a day? While we workaholic Americans trudge back to work on the day after Christmas, most of the countries of the British Commonwealth have declared today a holiday as well. It has a lot of names, like St. Steven’s Day after the first man to be killed for believing in Jesus, but most of the time they simply call it Boxing Day.
It’s not altogether clear why they call it that because, frankly, they forgot what the name is supposed to mean. That’s alright guys, we often forget what Christmas is supposed to mean, but we celebrate it anyway.
The best guess is that it refers to the box of gifts servants were given before they went home to spend the day after Christmas with their families, since they had spent Christmas Day serving their employer’s holiday needs and wishes. However, it could also refer to the alms boxes in churches, which were opened the day after Christmas so the money could be given to needy families.
One of my favorite guesses is that it refers to the boxes servants used to carry away leftover food from the Christmas feast. If you bought a 22-pound turkey this year, that explanation might appeal to you. The name could even refer to the Christmas boxes that sailing ships carried on long ocean voyages, into which crewmen placed money to ensure a safe return. If all went well, the box was given to a priest, who opened it and distributed the money to the poor after Christmas.
If we start celebrating Boxing Day here, the name could refer to that big pile of boxes many families place in the recycling bin the day after Christmas to let envious neighbors and potential robbers know what expensive goodies are inside the house. Seriously, readers, don’t advertise what you’ve recently bought that way, or at least put the boxes in front of somebody else’s house (just kidding, letter writers).
In fact, I think it would be a great idea to celebrate Boxing Day in Naperville, whether it is to have a day when we give gifts to those who have given us services, as they do in many countries, or whether it’s just to have that special day when you don’t have to listen to The Little Drummer Boy even once.
Boxing Day is often a day for enjoying sports. In Canada, it is of course a day for watching hockey. In Great Britain, it’s soccer and rugby. In Australia, it’s cricket and sail boat racing. It used to be a big day for fox hunting in England, “the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable” as Oscar Wilde put it, but that was outlawed in 2004. Now they still hunt, but the dogs chase a bag of fox scent dragged though the countryside, proving once again — actually I don’t know what that proves.
I think we should celebrate Boxing Day by watching football games by the lousy teams, the teams that couldn’t make bowl games or the playoffs. Maybe we could turn things around and, instead of watching the best teams playing each other, it could be the worst teams that play. As long as they’re evenly matched it still might be fun to see, and it would give bad players one last shot.
In any event, we need another day of celebration after Christmas, and Boxing Day is as good a choice as any. The older I get, and the more I reflect upon all the things life can visit upon us, the more I believe in my heart that you just can’t have too many holidays.