Do Brits really beat each other up the day after xmas?
It seems odd to be blogging about Christmas Holidays when we're not even half way through November yet, but nevertheless, I'm going to talk about BOXING DAY.
Boxing Day, for those who have no clue what I'm going on about, is a British bank holiday that always falls on 26th December. Australia, Canada and Africa also partake in Boxing Day traditions. And no, sorry to disappoint, as the name might suggest, it's not a day to join fight club, or to gather around the box to watch sweaty men throw each other.
It's a day to say thank you...or to just binge out on leftovers and indulge in wallet busting sales.
It's believed that the origins of this tradition dates back to England, when wealthy land owners would thank their servants for a year of work and loyalty, with a day off and a box of goodies that could be classed as a bonus. Sometimes, leftover food. The earliest documentation comes from 1663, from an entry in Samuel Pepys' diary, where he notes the tradition for tradesmen who would collect boxes from their customers, as a bonus for their hard work.
Today, the bank holiday is used as another day of celebration for Christmas – families and friends gather and share food leftover from Christmas Day. Turkey, as you can imagine, is a staple dish that is repurposed in sandwiches and the such like.
It's also a day where the January 'after Christmas' sales start, which are similar to the Black Friday sales starting in the wee hours of the morning here in the States, and when the paperboy or milkman get a nice little bonus, often being slipped a twenty in their paid envelope.
For as long as I can remember-- in our family, and that of friends--Boxing Day is a day to kick back and watch some classic programs such as the Only Fools and Horses Christmas Special, or a Christmas movie. When I was growing up, it was always Wizard of Oz or Willy Wonka.
The afternoon would be spent preparing a buffet of appetizers such as turkey sandwiches, pickled onion and cheese cocktail sticks, mini sausages, sausage rolls (similar to pigs in a blanket), crisps (potato chips), mini quiches, vol-au-vents and lots of other such goodies while sport supporters will watch a Ruby or Football match on the box.
Family and friends start arriving around five in the evening, and more Christmas celebrations begin. It's basically like another celebratory dinner, but without all the cooking and cleaning! Christmas Crackers will be about, as will party poppers and often more presents are exchanged with those who weren't able to see each other on Christmas day. And quite often decorative paper plates are used to save on the hassle.
And I can't forget to mention the infamous Christmas drinks we enjoy through the holiday. My favorite is Snowballs, which is a blend of Advocaat and lemonade (British lemonade is similar to 7Up or Sprite but without the lime), or sparking wine such as Asti-Martini and Babycam.
Boxing Day is a huge part of the holiday in Britain, and it's something myself and my family celebrate in the States. Hey, how else are you going to use up all that left over turkey?
Talking of which...us Brits generally make a turkey curry to use up those leftovers. What dishes do you like to make after Christmas to clear up some space in your fridge/freezer?
And as I won't be blogging here until the New Year, I'm going to take this early opportunity to wish you all HAPPY HOLIDAYS!