How Cool Is This? The photo isn't the best, but at least it gives you an idea of a dear friend's wonderful cottage and the great effort that she puts into decorating every year! There are always loads of people stopping by to have a look.....
For those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, it is Christmas Day whilst downunder it is Boxing Day.
The following is sourced from Wikipedia...
Boxing Day is a traditional celebration, dating back to the Middle Ages, and consisted of the practice of giving out gifts to employees, the poor, or to people in a lower social class. The name has numerous folk etymologies; the Oxford English Dictionary attributes it to the Christmas box; the verb box meaning: "To give a Christmas-box (colloq.); whence boxing-day." Outside the Commonwealth, the day is still celebrated but just with a different name.
The more common stories include:
It was the day when people would give a present or Christmas box to those who had worked for them throughout the year.
In feudal times, Christmas was a reason for a gathering of extended families. All the serfs would gather their families in the manor of their lord, which made it easier for the lord of the estate to hand out annual stipends to the serfs. After all the Christmas parties on 26 December, the lord of the estate would give practical goods such as cloth, grains, and tools to the serfs who lived on his land. Each family would get a box full of such goods the day after Christmas. Under this explanation, there was nothing voluntary about this transaction; the lord of the manor was obliged to supply these goods. Because of the boxes being given out, the day was called Boxing Day.
In England many years ago, it was common practice for the servants to carry boxes to their employers when they arrived for their day's work on the day after Christmas. Their employers would then put coins in the boxes as special end-of-year gifts. This can be compared with the modern day concept of Christmas bonuses. The servants carried boxes for the coins, hence the name Boxing Day.
In churches, it was traditional to open the church's donation box on Christmas Day, and the money in the donation box was to be distributed to the poorer or lower class citizens on the next day. In this case, the "box" in "Boxing Day" comes from that lockbox in which the donations were left.
Boxing Day was the day when the wren, the king of birds, was captured and put in a box and introduced to each household in the village when he would be asked for a successful year and a good harvest. See Frazer's Golden Bough.
Evidence can also be found in Wassail songs such as:
Where are you going ? said Milder to Malder,
Oh where are you going ? said Fessel to Foe,
I'm going to hunt the cutty wren said Milder to Malder,
I'm going to hunt the cutty wren said John the Rednose.
And what will you do wi' it ? said Milder to Malder,
And what will you do wi' it ? said Fessel to Foe,
I'll put it in a box said Milder to Malder,
I'll put it in a box said John the Rednose.
Because the staff had to work on such an important day as Christmas by serving the master of the house and their family, they were given the following day off. As servants were kept away from their own families to work on a traditional religious holiday and were not able to celebrate Christmas Dinner, the customary benefit was to "box" up the leftover food from Christmas Day and send it away with the servants and their families. (Similarly, as the servants had the 26th off, the owners of the manor may have had to serve themselves pre-prepared, boxed food for that one day.) Hence the "boxing" of food became "Boxing Day".
It is summer here at the moment, so our Christmas lunch and dinner is suited for the warmer temperatures! Lots of seafood - oysters, fish, prawns and wonderful salads! Topped off with some awesome desserts! Here are a couple of shots of just some of what was on offer!
Happy Holidays everyone! Let's hope that 2008 is a great one!