The Best Day of the Year. Some Random Thoughts.

Phew, I’m glad that’s all over for another year. Without a doubt, the best day of the year is Boxing Day. It’s a significant turning point in the Australian calendar, marking the start of summer holidays in earnest, a time to indulge in guilt free relaxation, simple foods, barbecues, books and trips to the beach. As much as I tried to avoid the Christmas mayhem this year, the gift giving merry-go-round, and the over indulgence in rich food, I admit I did succumb. I guess I’m too well-trained: Christmas, with all its trappings, is ingrained in my DNA. It’s a romanticised and mythologised Christmas that bears no resemblance to the modern-day version. Next year, I might run away.

Peach time, always ready on Boxing Day.

In my retrospective analysis of that over- rated day, one bonus was that I avoided visiting large department stores. Most gifts were purchased online ( from some of those large stores) which were delivered to my front door. The extra shipping cost was far less than the return drive to the nearest bastion of commerce, not to mention the enormous saving to my sanity. No Christmas carols, no maddening queues, no parking angst. I also found a few gifts in a nearby village, two novels for my bookworm granddaughter, purchased in a newly established, tiny children’s bookshop. This shop needs supporting.  I also found a hand made shoulder and neck heatbead pack from the local osteopath. The same village has a Japanese gift shop with an array of tempting goods, jewellery and clothing, a little gold mine of inspiring gifts for the hard to please at any time of the year.  And my gift from Mr T were two young black Silky chickens from a livestock poultry cart at the local farmers’ market. I plan to support more small local stores in the new year. 

Although Boxing Day is a secular holiday, it most likely has roots in St Stephen’s day. It’s derivation is worth noting in this modern day of  online delivery service. In 19th century Britain, Christmas boxes ( gifts or money donations)  were left out for post- men, errand boys and servants on the 26th December.

“In Britain, it was a custom for tradesmen to collect “Christmas boxes” of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year. 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.”

During the Middle Ages, alms boxes were left at the door of churches to distribute to the poor. This, in turn, may have evolved from the late Roman/early Christian era, when metal boxes were placed outside churches and used to collect special offerings for the Feast of Saint Stephen, which falls December 26, or  Boxing day. 

Life’s peachy

I’m now wondering whether we should leave tips for those van drivers who bring our shopping to the front door. I remember a time when we would leave a gift of beer for our garbos, ( rubbish collectors). Recently a wine delivery courier arrived in a rental van, a charming and very chatty Sikh. His father came to assist in the weekend deliveries but didn’t speak English. The younger turbaned chap explained that his father had been visiting for a year, but the cost of an extension to his temporary visa amounted to well over $100,000. Our new  postal carriers work harder than ever in this day of online shopping.

And like those masters of yore, I too have a surfeit of food when it comes to Christmas leftovers. Yet in this age of plenty, my palate yearns for simpler delights- a freshly plucked peach from our laden tree, a simple zucchini and basil soup, or a spoonful of leftover creme caramel flan, a simple thing made from our fresh hens’ eggs, a little sugar and milk.

Some cheeky visitors retain their Christmas colours all year round. Very rude when they take a fancy to the mixed nuts on the table.

I’ve been thinking about Western over indulgence lately, all that plastic, the indulgent gift giving, the accumulation of junk, the groaning table of food. We need to return to simpler practices. Will a shift in the economic tide bring with it an appreciation of basic things- a hand-made gift or a longed for book? Has the internet era killed the joy of Christmas in the young? What happened to toys? In the age of electronic device, do children still run and play? Do I need my sleep measured by an app?

I hope your Christmas went well, dear friends and readers. Was it merry or quiet? Are you glad it’s over? Do you love Boxing day too?

 

32 thoughts on “The Best Day of the Year. Some Random Thoughts.”

  1. Fran – you have raised loud laughter within me . . . . welcome and delightful . . . . yes, it is Boxing Day and I do not mind that – but this year I actually managed to run away completely from all the rest . . . all online shopping, no centres and no muzak and I feel energized for the last few days of the year to come and a new one to tackle . . . am barefoot at the keyboard and shall wonder out after this and smile at the warm sun and do some glorious stretches . . . . oh, and have a little look at some more on-line: less than half-price by now: books !!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to admit to a little secret Boxing day shopping myself Eha. Some very tasty half priced Rose`, a guarantee that will see me through my summer without the need for a driving foray. Tis the season, Eha, and thankyou for your kind support and comments throughout the year. Said, raising a glass- xx

      Like

  2. I love Boxing Day too….peaceful and relaxing. My Anzac Peaches are just about ready for eating . I think they are one of my all time favorite fruits….along with nectarines. We hastily netted all trees this morning. Looking fwd to their goodies over summer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Like minded spirits Helen, Enjoy your peaches. The birds have been sniffing around ours for a month or so: early netting was required. Picking a kilo a day now. Plums are not far around the corner. Looking for peach recipes.

      Like

  3. Even though I did almost nothing toward prescribed holiday festivities this year, I was still relieved to wake up this morning and know it was over for another year! A peach, fresh from the tree, would do it for me, too, Francesca. Have a relaxing time now, and a wonderful 2019. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Miss Julie – I’m so pleased you had a lovely Christmas, even if Bill didn’t show up to help!!! This years peaches are abundant- probably around 10 kilos or so the tree is finally in it’s prime.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, the simpler things. I would love to have access to your gorgeous peaches. The app to measure sleep doesn’t interest me very much, but it would seem that such devises are not only cross-cultural but cross-generational. People with no stock in the company tell me that I should buy a Fitbit, all the wonderful things it can do. But nobody shows me where I can get such good-looking peaches. I don’t have much acquaintance with Boxing Day – it’s not on the American calendar, and the post office and the garbage collection company purposely move around their employees so no relationship can be formed. Of course, it makes no sense, but that’s how it is. Everyone is just a street number. And the peaches lack taste. But I went down to the big mall on Christmas Eve and there was a definite buzz in the air. Most people were buying, but I think a lot of people were there for the Christmas tunes and lights. They even had dancers. It wasn’t bad, really, but it wasn’t a peach.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My granddaughters use Fitbits but I’m happy to use my phone if I want to measure my walks. Don’t need my life and health tracked to that degree either Karen. Once we knew our Garbos in the 1970s, but with automated trucks and work contracted out to companies, those old relationships no longer exist here either. We just are a number on a bin. Thanks for your peachy comments from across the sea. xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sipping on a campari with soda and orange at present, perfect boxing day drink, but now that you have reminded me, there’s a lot of leftover bottles of Prosecco – domani con pesche., Una festa dei bellini. Salute Cristina.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A really lovely post. Yesterday (Christmas) was very nice and quiet! After 34 Christmases with children, including the last 3 with grand children, we’ve come full circle, and enjoyed the day just by ourselves. I’ve always dreamed of going to some beautiful Christmassy German village over Christmas, just for the ambiance. We don’t ski. Now it seems like we really could do this! Happy Boxing Day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Congratulations Mimi on coming full circle. I did a similar thing two seasons ago and it was wonderful. I also dream of going somewhere cold in Europe- a small village in France perhaps., or Scotland. Maybe next year. Happy Boxing Day Mimi.

      Like

  6. We had a very sane and Merry Christmas up this way, but no fine looking ripe peaches like yours. And, although the beach is near, I fear I would need a hot sauna prior to making the plunge. Boxing day is a proper holiday here as it should be everywhere as it gives us that one day to reflect. It is a grand day.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Ah yes, I can feel the serenity! We continued our Christmas-lite campaign despite a trip away for a pre-Christmas get-together with my family. We gave book gifts for the kids, left the adults to their overblown exchange… of stuff, ate what we could of the culinary offerings and thanked the goddesses for homemade potato salad that travels well. Not my house, not my game plan. Back home for The Day, the G.O.’s fsmily had a vibe killer case of bah humbug (which they later regretted) so we did festive visits, food drops… and went to the beach. For the Best Day, we stayed, blessedly at home, eating leftovers, only practically continuing packing up the Christmas tree that suffered colleratal damage from a Christmas morning altercation between Deez-dog and his new squeaky pig toy. So it really is done and dusted for us. Unfortunately, we have to go to town today but we will be making the most of every holiday moment we can… even if there are no wonderful peaches… feeling grateful in the good company of others like you who appreciate and enjoy the best things.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I always remember your approach to Christmas Dale, grinning and baring it, so to speak. How nice, to go to the beach for Christmas Day- a refreshing dip, or a nip on the sand.
      I had hoped to get up your way this year, last winter, for a drive but the spare months were occupied with my mother’s cancer, her recovery and the placement in ‘a place’, followed by other interruptions to life. We squeezed in a month in Bali, but still our little van awaits a journey up the coast. So I might get up there in ’19. I hope you have a gentle and peaceful month ahead- no big rains, lovely times on a shady verandah with your soul mate, the GO. xx

      Like

  8. We completely bypassed Christmas last year and went away. It was great. We have no children in our family and my mother moved away, so we decided to give it a miss.
    This year we were invited to Christmas Day with my brother’s girlfriend’s family. She is the youngest of 8 and there were 44 in the party. It was fun to be part of a huge happy family, especially since so many are wonderful cooks.
    I don’t get caught up in expensive presents and usually make Christmas gifts. This year I made delicious fruit cakes. I still have a couple to be given away.
    I also support small, local businesses, mostly because I had one for much of my life.
    I hope you have a wonderful 2019.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like you are able to mix up the Christmas event these days, and trying new versions of the day keeps the day festive and enjoyable. Having done the family of 33 thing for too many years, I am really over it. Making fruit cakes for your gifts is an excellent idea Debra- the cakes last for so long and keep giving pleasure.
      Best wishes and happy travels between your two bases for 2019. Always lovely to read about Bagni di Lucca.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. We’ve been cultivating quiet Christmas days since moving here to Greece; I suppose it is a kind of running away. There was no mayhem, very little shopping, and only a “little” overeating on the day. Though we live on the other side of the world and it is the middle of winter, it is till a great time to be out and about, exploring areas we don’t have time to visit during the working week. Sounds like you had an equally wonderful and serene holiday.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It is still called St Stephen’s Day in Ireland – wonder if that is in opposition to the British! I like the thought that it is the start of the holidays – it is how it has felt to me this year. I remember a time when my mum left a card and some money for the postie at Christmas – maybe because back then it was a really busy time of year for them, now perhaps the posties are busy but with online deliveries rather than parcels and cards. I still resist online shopping in favour of seeing goods in real life – so your approach is interesting. Your peaches look beautiful – I too crave some simplicity after Christmas excesses. Here’s to a happy and simple new year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, and I think they call it the day of the wren in Ireland too. I’d love to be there on the 26th. We are still picking peaches- now 10 kilos, and the plums have begun. Busy time. Happy New Year Johanna.

      Like

  11. When you posted this, I saw the peaches, thought Yummmm, remembered that you posted them last Christmas too (or at least sometime in the winter), you tease 😉 and left the post open in my browser to read later. Today I did and I saw that yesterday by a fluke I also posted parrot photos from our Boxing Day. No peaches though. 🙂 I agree with all you say, and have one question. Did you buy him live chickens? 😮 All well in the coming year!

    Like

Now over to you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.