While I was born in Boston, and have lived in the USA now most of my adulthood, my childhood was spent in Canada. My mother, a PEI native, convinced my father to relocate there when I was only 5 years old. From that moment on my life consisted of all manner of mixed patriotic allegiance messages and trans-border holiday traditions. While I certainly claim my American citizenship with pride, I hold dear many of the fonder memories of Canadian customs passed down upon our generation. Boxing Day is certainly, if oddly to some, top of my list.
In these times of consumer excess, Boxing Day in Canada has become much akin to America’s Black Friday: a savage hunt for the best bargain and a gleefully gluttonous feeding frenzy of our First World Country’s residents’ habit: buying things we really do not need.
When I was a child, however, on Boxing Day, on our small Island, stores were closed for the day. This meant, in essence, that Christmas became a two-day holiday. Add in Christmas Eve, and when luck aligned any of the three to abut a weekend date, you could count on up to a five-day celebration of food, music, games, storytelling and visiting with family and friends.
Occasionally on Boxing Day my parents would pack the four of us kids up and head out on visits to the Shore or town-residing family members. Though more times than not, we were the ones to host this holiday.
Our large home would fill with laughter and loud voices, music as children and adults sang Christmas Carols that transitioned as the day lingered on into evening with a full tableaux of all our folk, country, blues and rock favorites covered by each of us, accompanied with Mom, Dad and Uncle Dan on their guitars.
There was drink too. It loosened the tongues of the adults who, as darkness fell, would commence storytelling of their yonder years, mischiefs and follies. What fun they had – and sometimes not – but they told it all for us to know and someday share with our children.
My siblings, cousins and I sat huddled and cuddled near the fire, backlit by the twinkling lights of our Christmas tree. This was Boxing Day to us.
Set aside as a mere Civic Holiday.
To our family it was in fact a real holiday and a legitimate excuse to gather together to play together. The strength of family bonds.
Childhood was not always beautiful; but I treasure the memories of times when it was.
UPDATE: December 15, 2014
As you prepare for your holiday celebrations, rituals, and intention-settings for 2015, I encourage you to considering collaborating with me and my colleagues. For more information on some of the ways we can co-create together, send me an email: Twinkle@TVforYourSoul.com