It’s the day after Christmas and I have that familiar feeling that is a combination of sadness that it is over, and contentment about the time spent with my family and the love that was shared over the last couple of days. To me, the Christmas season just doesn’t last long enough, and Christmas day is especially fleeting. We spend the whole month between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day preparing, then it’s over in a flash. In a few days all of the decorations will be put away and life will resume as normal, but the feelings and the love that Christmas bring don’t have to. The spirit of the season can carry us through until next year, when we get a re-charge to our happiness batteries. Usually today would find me taking all of the decorations off of the tree, starting the L-O-N-G process of putting everything away. We have company coming in the next few days, so we’ll leave it up for now, and I’ll start that process next week sometime.
Boxing Day – Today is officially Boxing Day. We don’t celebrate it in this country, however it is celebrated in England, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and other countries that were formerly British Commonwealth. It those countries it is a legal holiday! It is typically celebrated the first weekday after Christmas. If Christmas lands on a Friday or Saturday, then Boxing Day will be on the following Monday. So now that we know WHEN it is, and WHERE it is, shall we figure out WHAT it is? Well, the roots of Boxing Day starts in part with St. Stephan’s Day. This was the day that churches opened their collection boxes to the poor. Boxing Day was an expression of appreciation and thanks, and starting way back in the Middle Ages, members of the merchant class would take boxes and fill them with food and fruits, giving them to the servants, tradespeople and those who were less fortunate. In the case of servants, they would work on Christmas Day, so it was just right that they would get a day off immediately after Christmas to celebrate. So, usually the day after Christmas, or the Monday after if it fell on a Friday or Saturday (apparently the rich people with servants couldn’t fend for themselves on a weekend?) they would get the day off to celebrate. Today, the giving of boxes filled with food and clothes for the needy, or monetary gifts to charity, are the common way to celebrate this day. I don’t know why we don’t celebrate this one in our country – seems like a really good one to me!
National Thank-you Note Day – This is one of the areas where am so weak. My mom taught me well – that when someone gives you a gift you show your appreciation by sending a thank-you note. It’s the right thing to do, right? And it honestly doesn’t take all that long . . . but I still fail just about every single year. This is the year I need to get them out. I truly AM grateful, and I need to know that the people I care about know that too. These days so many people send emails, or make phone calls, but there’s nothing quite like a personal, hand written note. Etiquette says to send thank-you cards within two or three days of receiving a gift from someone. I’d better get on it!
National Whiner’s Day – Being grateful for everything we have is a good thing, but there are folks who just don’t show gratitude, instead choosing to whine and complain about something all of the time. I suppose we all have stuff to complain about – after all sometimes life just isn’t the way we want it to be. Today is the day when the whiners can come out of the woodwork and whine to their hearts content. It’s their day after all!
This Day In History –
1865 – James Mason invents the coffee percolator.
Food Celebration of the Day –
National Candy Cane Day – I’m not sure why this one wasn’t celebrated before Christmas, but it’s apparently been celebrated on December 26th for quite some time. To me, candy canes shouldn’t ONLY be enjoyed at Christmas though, so I suppose the day after is fine, right? The Candy Cane was created around 1900, and they are now big business: Almost 2 billion are made each year for Christmas. The largest one ever created was a whopping 51-feet long. Now how much do we know about the history of the Candy Cane? Well, it was originally a straight, hard and all white stick invented by French priests in the early 1400s. A choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral in Germany is given the credit for the cane shape. Legend has it that in 1670 he bent straight sugar sticks into canes to represent a shepherd’s staff, and gave them to the children at church services. Another theory is that as people began to decorate their Yule trees with food, the bent candy cane was invented as a functional solution. It first got its red stripes in the early 1900s. Legend has it that the white of the cane was representative of Christ’s purity, and the red for the blood He shed for us. The cane could be interpreted as either a shepherd’s cane, or as a J, for Jesus. I have quite a few candy canes hanging around here after Christmas, and intend to keep them on hand. They are great for a quick sweet treat, for a bit of a sore throat and just to make you feel good – like a kid again. Here are a few recipes using candy canes as an ingredient.
- Candy Cane Hot Cocoa
- Candy Cane Chocolate Chunk Cookies
- Candy Cane Fudge
- Candy Cane Cake
- Candy Cane Hearts
- Candy Cane Marshmallows
- Candy Cane Pinwheels
While you’re doing whatever it is you need to do today, keep that Christmas spirit close to your heart. Let the joy carry you through and into the New Year. God Bless You and I’ll see you tomorrow.