December 27, 2005

Boxing Day and plastic knives

Welcome back to work, if that's where you're reading from. Wasn't Boxing Day grand? Still wondering what Boxing Day is and was? I confess to not knowing the answer to this question until I moved to America (<tongue in cheek>a largely Christian nation that can't celebrate Christian holidays properly</tongue in cheek>) and had several versions of this conversation

me: You don't celebrate Boxing Day
puzzled American: What's Boxing Day?
me: It's the day after Christmas.
puzzled American: but why is it called Boxing Day?
me: it's a holiday, it's the day after Christmas
puzzled American: speculates incorrectly on pugilism and returning items to the mall.

The Wikipedia entry on Boxing Day is very lengthy, and quite informative, linking to a site that observes "even though Boxing Day is celebrated in Australia, Britain, New Zealand, and Canada, not all that many in those countries have much of a notion as to why they get the 26th of December off. Boxing Day might well be a statutory holiday in some of those lands, but it's not a well understood one. " Indeed. The OED settles on the definition of gifts to "post-men, errand-boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas-box."

In New Zealand it was not uncommon to leave a gift out for the rubbish man and the milk man and the post man. I use the original gendered terms to signify that this practice may have died out too, along with such common luxuries as home milk delivery.

My most profound thought on Boxing Day was about plastic knives. Americans don't often use knives when they eat. So why do they make disposable cutlery sets with knives? (This website has some interesting stories on the oft-observed differences in what is uncouth behavior with your knife and fork in different parts of the western world. And the U.S. State Department chimes in as well, with the anodyne observation that 'neither method is right or wrong, but only different.")

Posted by robe0419 at December 27, 2005 2:45 PM