Boxing Day: A Tradition or Not?
Happy Boxing Day! Never heard of it, you say? The origins of the holiday and its name are a vague, but several websites I looked at indicate that it began in England sometime in the Middle Ages. In the countries (most of which are or were part of the UK) where it’s celebrated, it’s a “bank holiday”-a day when banks, government offices, and the postal service are closed.
Some historians believe the holiday developed because servants were required to work on Christmas Day, but given the following day off and presented with gifts [boxes]. Others think it started because the alms boxes in churches were opened and the contents distributed to the poor. Regardless of how the day started, over the years it has developed into a time of charity, a time when service and tradespeople are typically given tips and bonuses for their work during the past year. The holiday has expanded to include giving to non-profit and needy organizations.
An episode of the TV show M*A*S*H explores Boxing Day. The 4077 staff treat a British regiment that talks about the tradition of enlisted personnel and officers trading places on Boxing Day. During my research I found only two references to this custom. The first was in a blog by a man who tells a story about his son’s army regiment participating in the tradition, and the other is an episode of The Nanny during which Mr. Sheffield refers to the custom and suggests that he and Niles switch roles.
The lack of evidence makes me wonder just how “traditional” this tradition is. What do you know about Boxing Day? Do you have traditions of your own?
A Doctor in the House (part of The Hope of Christmas collection):
Emma O’Sullivan is one of the first female doctors to enlist after President Franklin Roosevelt signs the order allowing women in the Army and Navy medical corps. Within weeks, Emma is assigned to England to set up a convalescent hospital, and she leaves behind everything that is familiar. When the handsome widower of the requisitioned property claims she’s incompetent and tries to get her transferred, she must prove to her superiors she’s more than capable. But she’s soon drawn to the good-looking, grieving owner. Will she have to choose between her job and her heart?
Archibald “Archie” Heron is the last survivor of the Heron dynasty, his two older brothers having been lost at Dunkirk and Trondheim and his parents in the Blitz. After his wife is killed in a bombing raid while visiting Brighton, he begins to feel like a modern-day Job. To add insult to injury, the British government requisitions his country estate, Heron Hall, for the U.S. Army to use as a hospital. The last straw is when the hospital administrator turns out to be a fiery, ginger-haired American woman. She’s got to go. Or does she?
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