Boxing Day

Happy? I’m as happy as a turkey on Boxing Day. 

If you find yourself in England or, like me, spending your holidays with English in-laws, you might hear of a delightful phenomenon called Boxing Day. It’s the day after Christmas, and the story goes that it is the day when the wealthy would box up their old things, after getting shiny new ones on Christmas, to give them to the servants. Which, if you’re a servant is probably a better haul than actual Christmas, so it became its own holiday. And the banks are closed in England on December 26 to this day. 

Despite a lifetime of receiving my own shiny things on Christmas, I’ve never practiced Boxing Day, or anything like it. It’s pretty rare for me to get something that is a straight-up replacement for something I already have, and, let’s be honest, I have a bit of the pack rat in me. My own personal “boxing day” usually comes when I move, and is filled with annoyance and grief at the fact that I didn’t get rid of this huge ridiculous pile of things I couldn’t care less about long ago. (Anyone feel me out there?) After Christmas, by contrast, I can usually be found forcefully persuading my now-larger group of possessions to fit into my still-tiny apartment. With varying levels of success. This year, Boxing Day has come and gone. Here it is, January 17th, and I’m still working on integrating one of my new possessions into the available space. Friends, meet me at the coat rack. 

Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none.

I got a beautiful coat for Christmas. Beautiful. My mother picked it out, got the perfect size, boxed it, wrapped it in pretty paper, boxed it again and sent it to me. Since I opened it, I have been a little sad each and every day that it’s too warm to wear it. It is everything a coat should be: long enough to cover my knees, warm enough for a brisk winter day, and it even has a little tie around the waist, just to give it extra class. I love this coat. I cannot imagine ever in my life needing another one. 

I do have another coat. It’s a perfectly fine coat and has kept me toasty through four (or so) winters. I appreciate this other coat greatly. I thank it for its service. But it’s Boxing Day around here. Coat has to go. 

Sharing is hard. In this case, it’s not actually hard because I will miss my dearly departed coat (see above description of the prettiest, most wonderful coat in the world). It’s hard because I’m lazy about sharing. It’s easier to stuff things in the back of my closet than to think about how to give them away and then actually go do it. On Saturday. When there is so much good tv to catch up on. The Brits have it right, we totally need a special day for this kind of thing. An official get rid of it day. Spread the wealth day. 

The coat unused in your closet belongs to the one who needs it

I’m doing it. I’m giving the coat away. I’ve even now publicly professed it to the internet. It’s time to remember that I have all of the things that I need and many of the things that I want. I can box that coat up and find my nearest winter clothing drive. It’s Boxing Day, after all. 

I’m not delusional here. I don’t think giving my old coat away will save the world. It’s just a coat. But we belong to each other, and it no longer belongs to me. This year, I’m celebrating Boxing Day. Bigger and better things next year, perhaps. 


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