The Editor’s Desk: Boxing Day bliss

In many ways, Boxing Day is even better than Christmas Day: all the fun, none of the stress

I’ve always felt sorry for Americans that they don’t get to enjoy Boxing Day the way we do, as an official holiday. Yes, they do get Christmas Day off, but it’s then back to work and business as usual on the 26th, while north of the border Canadians are sitting with their feet up, dipping into Christmas goodies and generally recovering from the day before.

Author Bill Bryson, who grew up in the States but has spent most of his adult life living in Britain, wrote a regular column for the Mail on Sunday’s Night & Day magazine when he returned to live in America for a time in the late 1990s. Having had an opportunity to experience Christmas in Britain, he noted all the things absent from the festivities in America, such as Christmas pantomimes, mince pies, and Christmas crackers.

However, what he missed most was Boxing Day, noting that he much preferred it to Christmas Day. “It has all the advantages of Christmas (lots of food and drink, general goodwill towards all, a chance to doze in an armchair during daylight hours) without any of the disadvantages like spending hours on the floor trying to assemble doll’s houses and bicycles from instructions written in Taiwan or the uttering of false professions of gratitude to Aunt Gladys for a hand-knitted jumper. (‘No honestly, Glad, I’ve been looking everywhere for a jumper with a unicorn motif.’)”

The more you think about it, the more you realize Bryson is absolutely correct to feel that Boxing Day is (in many ways) superior to Christmas Day. Dec. 25 comes fraught with all manner of high expectations, from finding and purchasing the perfect gifts for everyone on your list to preparing the perfect meal, to trying to coordinate schedules in today’s world (“If we head out no later than 11 a.m. we can spend two hours with your parents for lunch before dropping in on my dad and his new wife for an hour, and as long as the roads are good we should be at Mom’s house in time for dinner”).

For parents with young children there’s the question of whether to have Christmas dinner at home (so the kids don’t have to be dragged away from their presents almost as soon as they’ve opened them), or go to a relative’s house for Christmas dinner. Both approaches bring their own stresses. By having Christmas dinner at home you face all that cooking and cleaning, as well as the expectation that dinner will be like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting, whereas it’s more likely to resemble the dinner scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. If you go somewhere else, you face explaining to tearful children why they can’t bring their new treasures with them.

The situation will not be helped by the fact that the children have probably been up since the crack of dawn, meaning you have been too, so by mid-afternoon everyone is liable to be a bit on the cranky side, peace and goodwill to all notwithstanding. And woe betide any parent who neglected to spot that the six C-cell batteries needed to make a certain toy work were not included.

All of that stress and tension vanishes the moment the clock ticks over to Boxing Day. If you bit the bullet and hosted Christmas dinner, then there’s little or no cooking to be done, as family members wander to the fridge at regular intervals to nibble on turkey, or dip into Christmas goodies as they put their feet up. Now that Christmas movies aren’t airing on every channel there’s a good chance of finding something decent on TV, and you can relax, safe in the knowledge that Christmas music has vanished for at least 10 months.

So I’m in complete agreement with Bill Bryson about Boxing Day. Of course I look forward to Christmas Day, but that contented sigh you hear come Dec. 26 will be me, relaxing. Could you pass that box of chocolates, please?

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Historic Hat Creek finds novel way to keep part of site open

VIP shopping experience offers people private visit to site’s gift shop

Ashcroft food bank benefits from donation as demand increases

Community Futures Thompson Country provides much-needed cash donation

Cariboo ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

Time for some tick talk to keep people and pets safe from pests

Pesky creatures peak in June, but are out there lurking throughout summer and fall

B.C. government eyes antlerless moose harvest increase in bid to save caribou

Antlerless moose hunts reduce predation for threatened mountain caribou, says ministry

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Greater Victoria drive-thru window smashed after man receives burger without mustard

Greater Victoria Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit was en route as whale broke free from prawn trap line

Most Read