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Pu’dem’up Day (aka Boxing Day)

Posted Dec 26 2009 12:00am


Blimey, the internet is slow today.  I don’t know whether to risk writing anything in case I can’t save it.

Go on then.

I have all these vague bits of information wandering around my brain and today, Boxing Day, has highlighted that for me again.  I am constantly thinking “I heard/read/learnt somewhere something about…[insert random stuff]“.  I never seem to have a clear notion of these things.  They are ephemeral shadows hop-scotching round my neurons.

Today’s vagueness is regarding the meaning of Boxing Day.  Now I know this one isn’t obscure.  I know it’s well-known.  Yet I can’t remember whether the day acquired its name from something to do with boxing (fighting) or boxing (packing things away).  Both seem to make sense.  It could be that after the religious observance of Christmas Day people then went to watch boxing matches or sporting events as some sort of “let them eat cake” Elizabeth I-style thing.  Equally it could be harking back to some tradition where, for example, decorations were boxed away.  I don’t like looking this stuff up because, frankly, if I looked up everything I had a slight thought about I’d never leave my computer.

BUT, this being Christmas and all, I’ll look it up now and see if I was anywhere close.  Hang on a minute….

So here’s what Britannia says.

I was pretty off the mark there with all my hunches.  It appears it’s the day boxes, i.e. gifts, were given to the poor and needy, or, when workers received a bonus.  Well, there you go then.

Moving swiftly on….

I had very low expectations of Christmas this year and consequently I had a reasonable day.  It’s never going to be my favourite holiday, it just isn’t, but getting through a day of relatives, eating, boozing and hyperactive young cousins who have just been given an inordinate amount of ADHD-inducing presents and chocolate – well – if I can traverse that tricky course with minimal mental and physical scarring, I’m quids in!

I have a nice family.  I’m lucky.  I just don’t enjoy enforced confinement with them all. 

The best bits:

My uncle came in the car with us.  We picked him up carrying a 15-pack box of Budweiser.  Fair enough.  We drink a lot on Christmas Day.  Turns out the box in question did not contain the lager bottles one would presume.  No.  He’d brought a box of grit.  I found this endlessly amusing.  We have had loads of snow/ice so it made sense on a practical level.  On a visual level, however, presenting your hosts with a Budweiser-free box of grit, seemed comical in the extreme.  More so, perhaps, because his defense was “he (his brother) asked me for it.  He wanted to clear the path..”

Also a ‘best bit’ was the dinner.  My auntie is amazing at cooking fantastic Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, plus hosting, plus looking after the kids.  I couldn’t do it.

That’s enough best bits.

I don’t think anyone got totally drunk and disorderly, which sometimes happens when Uncle Dick Head shows up.  I hasten to add that Uncle Dick Head is not one person but, rather, a fluid concept that several members of my family have taken on in different years.  Actually I think I might have been Uncle Dick Head this year.  I’m not sure but I was certainly not sober.  Who was the most inebriated I couldn’t say as we all express it in our own special ways.  I do remember gabbling away at the table, using phrases like “it’s a zingy paradise” to describe an orange-liqueur mousse, and being offered a cup of tea, the national sign for “you’re embarrassing yourself, luv, sober the fuck up”.  I don’t really like being drunk around people who aren’t also, but I get bored at these things and, if indeed it was my turn to be Uncle Dick Head, I’ll take it on the chin.  I’ll find out when I see my sister, no doubt.

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