Boxing Day

Put ’em Up

Have you ever heard of Boxing Day? If so, have you wondered what the heck it is? I know I have. I live in suburban Detroit, which is a stone’s throw from Canada, geographically speaking. For everyone in Canada, as well as the rest of the former British Empire, the day after Christmas is known as Boxing Day. To me, it always sounded like a very violent holiday, after celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace. If any day should be called Boxing Day, it should be Black Friday.

This side of the Detroit River, the day after Christmas used to be the second biggest shopping day of the year. Second only to Black Friday. These days, that title goes to Cyber Monday. When thinking of a non-violent definition of Boxing Day, “boxing up” all of the Christmas gifts you wanted to return came to mind.

Turns out I was way off both times. In the United Kingdom, Boxing Day is traditionally a day off for the servants. It was the day when the master would give the servants their Christmas Presents or “Boxes”. The staff, in turn, would head home and give their families their Christmas Boxes. Think Downton Abbey and you get it.

However, one definition of Boxing Day is from a M*A*S*H episode. In the UK military, it’s the day when officers and enlisted men trade places to have some fun and build morale. To me, it sounds like just another “blow-off day” at work around the holidays. I wonder what they call the day after Boxing Day? Anyway, for all of my family in The Great White North, as well as any readers in the UK, Happy Boxing Day! And Happy New Year as well!

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School Clothes

The Annual Shopping Torture

Now that Labor Day has passed and all the little children are safely out of our hair for another school year, it made me think about buying school clothes. When I was a kid, there were few things that me, my brothers, and my sister hated more than that annual shopping torture.

My Mom would try in vain to find clothes that would hopefully make it to Thanksgiving, before we started to grow out of them. And don’t get me started on how stylish these threads were. Since my Dad was a detective with the Detroit Police Force, it seemed like Mom was trying to dress us boys like little versions of Dad. Minus the sideburns and wide ties.

I’m a big guy, and I currently measure six foot three inches tall. However, before gravity started yanking me back down to earth, I measured six foot three and a half inches. However, I have been seeing a chiropractor lately, so I may have gotten back that missing half inch.

Anyway, I remember one summer, when we went on our annual shopping excursion in late July. We probably had our vacation week in Irish Hills scheduled for August, so we had to get the shopping done before then. Coincidentally, that was the year I shot up six inches over the summer. You wouldn’t have thought it was possible,  but I pulled it off.

With four kids to keep track of, my Mom didn’t really notice I had grown half a foot in such a short amount of time. Then came, “try-on day”. We would get dressed up in all of our school clothes, just to make sure they still fit correctly, weren’t damaged, or needed to be exchanged. When I put on my stylish threads, my Mom just about had a heart attack. I looked like Frankenstein, in pants and a shirt borrowed from a third-grader.

What followed was a quick babysitter call, followed by a land-speed record trip to Federal’s to exchange my undersized clothing for something from the Men’s department. Hopefully, none of today’s moms had to go through that little episode, but you never know. Growth spurts do happen. Years later, the same thing happened with my son Kevin, so what goes around comes around. Hey moms, at least the little monsters are back in school. Enjoy it!   

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