Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Christmas Sunday

So after the death of Christmas Eve, here’s another tradition that has bitten the dust ‘Christmas Sunday’.

For hundreds of years if Christmas Day was on a Saturday then the next day was known as ‘Christmas Sunday’ and Monday would become Boxing Day because traditionally, Boxing Day could not fall on a Sunday. It is the day Christmas boxes were given to staff and tradesmen who didn’t work Sundays, the ‘day of rest’ and all that. As a child I loved this concept, as it appeared to extend Christmas by a day.

Even today most dictionaries still describe Boxing Day as the first weekday following Christmas. So what went wrong? Call me a cynic but I think the rot set in with the Sunday Trading Act of the mid-1990’s when for the retailers, who along with the media are of course in charge of such matters, Sunday became pretty much a normal working day. In 1999 the country still seemed split on the idea but five years later in 2004, the last time 26th December fell on a Sunday, the tide had clearly turned the wrong way. ‘Christmas Sunday Sale’ just doesn’t have the same ring about it.

It probably didn’t help that a lot of people could never get their heads around Boxing Day being movable and would say it was the 26th with no thought into how it came into being. Now the whole country defaults to ignorance and even institutions that should know better, such as the BBC, seem to go with the flow rather than hold the line. It’s such a shame that old traditions like this are allowed to die out. Well, I shall celebrate Boxing Day on Monday or try to...

Another tradition of Christmas and of Boxing Day, which of course today it isn’t, is football. As it happens Derby’s ‘Boxing Day’ game is off. Nothing to do with the weather, power failure meaning no floodlights.

At a loose end I decide to trawl the web to see if anyone else has got it right.

You would kind of expect the traditionalists into fox hunting would get it right and the annual Boxing Day hunts are all scheduled for Monday or was that just to throw the protesters off guard.

Scarborough’s traditional seafront Boxing Day events are being held on the Monday. Kedleston Hall is holding its Boxing Day sale on the 27th. Some sword dancers got it right! As did Aston Old Edwardians and Bann Rowing Club. As well as the Boxing Day Windlesham Pram Race and Blewbury Village Boxing Day Walk.

Small fry maybe but at least there is hope.

Today is also the Furnace's 3 mile run of which I have no idea whether this is a Boxing Day tradition or not. What is tradition is that Doggo is the first dog across the finish line. I had hoped to run MD as well. Yep two dogs at once but just as it was last year it’s too icy to be tethered to two dogs, one of which is as skittish as MD, so he’s booted and looks utterly gutted about it. Sorry mate.

Partly because I chat on the course with an ex-colleague from work who I bump into and partly because we’re simply not fast enough, Doggo is second dog. We are both inconsolable. Another tradition dies. To be beaten by a man dressed as a Smurf, a bare-chested Smurf at that, makes it all the more galling. His dog obviously helped him. It appeared to be of a husky type too, which probably suited the conditions better.

Oh well. If one tradition dies, start another. I'll call it the twelve pubs of Christmas. We head into Wollaton to see what’s open. The ‘Wollaton’ nee ‘The Willoughby’ is oddly closing at 8pm even though it’s busy so it’s not surprising that next door the Wheelhouse is packed. Another reason could be the Greene King's Abbot Reserve at 6.5% on draft. We’ll stay here shall we?

(Sunday 26th December)

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