Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

Boxing Day Way

Ah, Boxing Day! It'll be a year until I'm greeted by, "Are you ready for Christmas?" As if we are climbing a steep mountain pass to ski down the other side. Or, crawling across the desert to a beckoning oasis. For me, Boxing Day is that oasis.

The first time I celebrated Boxing Day on December 26th, I was visiting a Basarwa (Bushman) settlement in the middle of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana. But, that's another story.

Decades later I still favor Boxing Day over Christmas. Not just a day to open the boxes (presents), but also a relaxed day after the holiday hysteria to touch into our gratitude instead of our grouches, grumbles, and grudges.

Rather than shopping days before Christmas, we now count the days before New Year's Day. Now the count is five.

I think of the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve as "The Dead Week" when people recover from Christmas hysteria and prepare for the official end of the year parties and resolutions. My birthday falls during this week as it does for millions of Capricorns. We surely must draw a collective breath and exhale as these marker days for us are mostly lightly passed over.

This holiday season I took the season by the scruff of its neck and shook it up. I fly under the radar for the holidays with no tree, no cards, and no shopping list. But, this year I baked mother's traditional golden California fruitcakes with my brother Gary. I was even invited to a holiday party where poets and story tellers read their work.

I declared it a film festival and went to three of the movies that were on my must-see list while they were still at the Chase Park Plaza Cinema and the Moolah (they have couches!).

Christmas Eve my niece came down with some of our traditional German Christmas Kucken (cakes): date bars and the dark Lepkucken (honey cakes). My brother made the light Lepkucken this year along with the Springerlies.

Christmas Day my father and I played our violins and sang for an hour at a nursing home audience of 20. These folks tapped their feet and sang along with our songs from decades ago.

Today's Boxing Day is bustling with a family dinner. Untangled from the nuclear family doings, we can now get together. Pop sawed the ham in two and I whisked it in the oven.

My birthday comes next. This year I'm having a dinner party for six goddesses in my Goddess Gathering Room.

Then New Year's Eve? We'll see.

My effort to become better friends with the season on my own terms has payed off.

And now...I'm ready to open my presents.

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