Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Boxing Day

Herewith is the text of a letter to the editor of the SB News-Press that I emailed today. I'll update this post if/when it's published.

Dear Sir or Madam:

I wrote this on "Boxing Day," the day after Christmas. You've doubtless heard of Boxing Day, but, perhaps like me, hadn't known its derivation. Well, I've cyber-searched it: Consensus is, it arose in England centuries ago, nickname for servants' "day off" to enjoy the boxed gifts and leftovers their nobles dispensed to them, the servants having labored through Christmas Day to provide their masters with feast and celebration. Over succeeding years it became a secular day of giving – through alms-boxes and the like – celebrated throughout the UK and many Commonwealth countries.

However, Boxing Day has lately devolved from a day of sharing and tribute to workers' labor and service, into a frenetic shopping day – with crowds surging into stores for much-touted discounts. It's also a hallowed – if lethargic – day for televised sport: endless soccer matches, auto racing and such, with leftover Christmas food and drink at hand. 

Sound familiar? Sound like our Black Friday merged with Super Bowl Sunday? And why not? America leads Western Culture nowadays: Our Labor Day no longer celebrates labor in America: It's simply beer-and-burger day. Memorial Day has become beer-and-Indy day, and Independence Day is all about fireworks. Our Thanksgiving is now tryptophan-and-TV day, followed within hours by our annual addictively-intense shopping event.

So – No surprise. Boxing Day has become driven by distraction and commercialism, sullied by crass consumerism, just as have our holidays.

But we still have Christmas, a day of goodness and kindness, without the unseemly commercialism that has consumed other holidays, right?