Merry Boxing Day!

In traditional fashion my post wishing you all a very Happy Christmas is a bit late… So Merry Boxing Day everyone! Hope you all had a splendid Chrimbo full of fun, family and food.

Boxing Day is always a bit of a strange one to me. Being British I’ve grown up with having two days off around Christmas, but having lived a good few years in New York I came to realise this was just us and our more friendly colonies (I’m thinking about you, Canada). Then again in the American world the very phrase ‘Merry Christmas’ is loaded with potential insult and hence the non-religious form ‘Happy Holidays’ is normally used. This bland greeting insults everyone in equal measure, no one group gets a big bee in their bonnet and everyone can continue with the business of loving one another and/or getting rich as appropriate. In America the only two day holiday is the non-religious Thanksgiving, sensibly always placed on a Thursday and Friday thus guaranteeing a long weekend for all. If only baby Jesus had had such forethought, but I digress.

Back to Boxing day and in Britain and there seems to be no real hard and fast agreement on what this is or how it came about. Even the ever useful Wikipedia shakes its head, asks for some more money like a disreputable Uncle and then deftly points us towards Snopes. At Snopes various possibilities are laid out, mostly involving some levelling of wealth between people of different strata of society – nominally from lords to serfs. So perhaps we should consider Boxing day like the Robin Hood of bank holidays, or to be more up to date a sort of ‘Tobin Tax’.

Suffice to say Boxing Day is the day after Christmas and it’s another day off. That sounds good enough to me. In our family it’s a day for eating cold turkey, sampling festive spirits that may or may not be presents from the year before, and taking a long constitutional along the cold Norfolk coastline looking at baby seals. This year the seals were particularly cute and abundant at Sea Palling, and I believe my youngest nephew won the seal spotting contest with his, as yet unverified, claim of ‘a gazillion’ seals. Perhaps he’s angling for a job in the Treasury…

Festive Dear

Good news for those of us in the US and buying presents for loved ones in the UK! The British Customs folks have issues a festive christmas warning not to bring too much back from New York with you as the dollar rapidly approaches two to the pound. Sign. Guess everyone’s getting hand knitted mittens from me this year – just let me know what colour you want.

In all honesty I’m pretty darn frustrated about this turn of events. I love my family and, especially with all the little ones, that amounts to a whole pile o’ presents. So what am I supposed to do? Going online and buying from would be the usual, but then I’m getting slammed by the weak dollar. So my usual gift advantage of being in the land of the cheap product, where my dollars can actually afford someting, is being compromised by opportunistic shoppers. Sigh. I’ll probably just end up doing the usual and wandering through customs hoping they don’t stop me like every year – normally achieved very successfully by looking incredibly tired and grumpy after a sleepless overnight flight. They never see through that cunning surprise…