Wednesday, December 26, 2012
BOXING DAY was a very big deal when I was a child. It was much more important than Christmas for my family.
It only became a really big deal when we came to the US and had children to buy for. I think today there was a let down on BOXING DAY.
I realized even more about this than I had thought through till this year.
With no Children around it was a let down for sure.
We were poor!. Only Children were given CHRISTMAS BOXES , in my childhood. Grown ups did not get Christmas presents in our family.
We were poor and my aunts were mostly in "SERVICE” that means they were servants to the wealthier people in the town. My uncles were soldiers during WW 2.
I grew up with many more women in town than men, since the men went to war and some never returned. There were older men but not too many that I knew.
My Aunts would work very long hours on CHRISTMAS DAY making sure everything went right for the rich folks. The day after Christmas they went to the big houses early in the morning and they made up cold meals for any people in the house and then they took all the leftovers home in "BOXES"
These became known as "CHRISTMAS BOXES" and in my childhood we never asked for gifts or presents we too asked for Christmas BOXES instead.
The day after CHRISTMAS DAY was called BOXING DAY and on that day we had leftover foods of all kinds.
Meat and meat pies along with fruit pudding and fruit pies. It was our feast day.
Happy , happy BOXING DAY.
The servants had the rest of the day off, that was customary. Some of the live-in servants went back later in the evening so they could light the fires in the morning. My Aunt who was a cook always stayed in the kitchen I never saw her on that day. She was very popular with the Lord of the house and so she was admired by my Gran because Aunty Em was such a great cook.
My Mam was a rebel, she refused to be a servant instead she worked first in a chemical plant and later in ship building.
That is my story and you can understand why Christmas was just a church service and the same story every year, there was very little joy on Christmas day in our family almost everyone had to work.
On BOXING DAY we were given excellent food that we never got any other time of the year. Sometimes my Gran was given money and clothes too, so it was our happiest time of the Winter indeed of the year.
When we had our children here in the US. My mother always sent the children a parcel and I would hide it till Christmas.
Very early I forgot to put out the gifts from Mam, the following day I remembered. I went to get them and our son asked why Father Christmas had left them there so I was VERY HAPPY to tell the boys these are gifts from Your Grandmother in England to celebrate BOXING DAY.
Later I told them what it was all about but one son asked me to still keep doing the BOXING DAY gifts because he felt it made it better to get presents for two days and they came from Grammie.
We did do that and it felt like we were honoring our English heritage custom in our family roots.