Now that the rush of Christmas is over, and everyone is settling into enjoying their new gifts, returning home from visiting family, and overstuffed from eating far too much good food, I’d like to take a few minutes to discuss a holiday that we in the states don’t celebrate. In all actuality, it’s not really a day of celebration, but it is, to me, a day that we should consider bringing into our holiday season more than we do.
I’m talking about the British holiday of Boxing Day. Now, here in the states, we focus a great deal before the holidays on collecting food donations for the hungry and toy donations for needy children. I do consider those as good things, worthy and noble causes. But I also believe Boxing Day should be something to be considered as well.
When I was a kid, and first heard about Boxing Day and what it is, I thought the idea was ludicrous. As I’ve gotten older, and had my own child, I have grown to see the wisdom in the concept and believe that it could be used to combat the greediness that is so often displayed during what should a time of year focused on love and giving to all. Let me take a few minutes now to explain how I came to this change in thought.
First, as any parent knows, there comes a time when you need to start asking your kids what they want for Christmas. And while it is always good to have an idea as to what your children want, it is also necessary to set limits and this question can also lead to a great deal of subconscious greediness that can follow people through life. Boxing Day is one way of combating that greediness.
Here’s the concept behind the holiday. Your kids get up on Christmas, and find all the presents that Santa, you and the family have laid out for them the night before. They are really excited and spend the day playing with all the new toys. In most cases, over the next few days to a couple of months later, the new toys get broken, lost or the kids just stop playing with them due to lack of interest beyond the newness and excitement of Christmas. With Boxing Day, all of that is removed. Boxing Day is always the day after Christmas and the kids are told to pick a few (maybe one, not usually more than three) gifts to keep. Everything else is then donated in the same way that we donate before Christmas so that others can have something that they would not have gotten otherwise. The gifts are brand-new, not used and are in excellent condition for someone else. Plus, it removes the greed factor as the children know beforehand that they will not get to keep all the gifts they receive.
Boxing Day is a way of continuing the spirit of the holiday season past the holiday while teaching a valuable lesson at the same time. It’s a lesson that the world sorely needs, and one that we need desperately. Starting the lesson with children is investing in a better future, each year, each holiday. It’s a way of keeping the Christmas spirit alive throughout the year.