26 December 2018

What Boxing Day Delivers

There are some English customs and holidays that have endured in every current or former crown colony--except for the US.

One of those holidays Boxing Day.  Today's the day.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the Anglophone world outside the US, this isn't a day when people watch, or get into, fights. (Lots of people do that on Christmas Day itself, especially after copious quantities of, ahem, eggnog were consumed.) 

Actually, this holiday had its origins with servants and others who had to work on Christmas Day. Their masters or employers gave them the following day off and sent them off with Christmas boxes for themselves and their families.  So, the families of many maids, butlers, cooks and the like had their "Christmas dinner" on this date.

These days, it seems to have taken on an identity like that of Black Friday--the day after Thanksgiving--in the US.  People take advantage of the sales in big-city department stores as well as smaller, family-run operations.

But, at least in the UK, it also seems to be a popular day for bike rides of all types.  A quick Google search revealed everything from lunch rides for families to spirited club rides--and even a cyclo-cross race or two.

Hearing the term "Boxing Day ride" might conjure up an image like this:

I can imagine that rider being one of those servants or other helpers who just got the day off.  And the recipient of one of those boxes just might be this young man:

out on a family ride, of course!

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