Saturday, December 26, 2020

The Post-Christmas Letdown

 Christmas has come and gone again and many Americans are sliding into a post-holiday slump--typical for many of us, but made worse this year by all the things we couldn't do to celebrate. Some of us are settling into the period of inertia (as in, inert) that follows the sugar-high of the day before. Others are hustling to get decorations cleaned up and put away before the weekend ends and real life (however that looks these days) returns on Monday. 

Let me suggest that we in the US take a cue from our friends in the British commonwealth. In the UK, Canada, Australia, and elsewhere, today is Boxing Day, a holiday in its own right and with its own traditions. If, when you think of Boxing Day, you're picturing something like you see here, I can't blame you. It was my first thought. 

But the history of the day suggests something much lovelier. Kinder, too! 

According to the website, the origin of Boxing Day is lost to the annals of time, but one theory is it originated during the Middle Ages. Lords of the manor required long workdays of their servants on Christmas Day. As a kind of holiday bonus, they often allowed time off on the day after, and handed out boxes (hence the name) of money, small gifts, and leftovers from their own holiday feasts

Another theory holds that alms for the poor were collected throughout the pre-Christmas season. Then, on the 26th, clergy handed out boxes of food, clothing, and other necessities to those who were in need. December 26 is also St. Stephen's day, named for the first Christmas martyr. In Ireland, the 26th is celebrated as St. Stephen's Day. Either way, the origin suggests the day was always intended to be another day of giving, or "good will toward men," and acts of charity.

December 26 falls on Saturday this year, so in the UK and other Commonwealth nations, the national holiday will be celebrated on Monday, the 28th. Since we don't have an offical holiday here in the US, let me suggest that any day (or every day!) between now and the end of the year could be an extra day of charitable acts for each of us. 

We can celebrate the tradition by volunteering time, taking groceries to a local shelter or food bank, or performing simple services, like picking up needed items or shoveling sidewalks, for neighbors who may be quarentined or ill or otherwise in need of our assistance.

Maybe our voluntary Boxing Day efforts can extend into the New Year and help us remember how very much we still have to be grateful for and to appreciate always, even in unprecedented years such as the one we've just experienced. 

After all, there's never a bad time for random acts of kindness, encouraging words, or uplifting thoughts. Happy Boxing Day, everyone, and may we all have a wonderful 2021.

Susan Aylworth is the author of more than 20 novels. Her newest book is Joy Comes to Bedford Falls, a Bedford Falls Christmas romance. Her newest series, "Seasons of Destiny," explores romance in every season of the year in the small, former Gold Rush town of Destiny, California, nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills.  Paris in the Springtime, Sunny's Summer,  Amber in Autumn, and Winter Skye are all available now in e-book and paperback. Susan is releasing new editions of her beloved Rainbow Rock Romances. Over the Rainbow, a prequel to the series, is available free for a limited time to everyone who subscribes to her newsletter. You can sign up on her website: Contact her on her Facebook author page or via or join her on Twitter @Susan Aylworth. 


  1. We were just talking about boxing day this morning and wanted to know more about it. Thanks for this timely post!

  2. Thank you for this lovely and informative post, Susan!