Guys, We Are Getting Ripped Off
5:30 pm, December 26th | by Colette McIntyre
Poor December 26th. I mean, no one ever asked you if you wanted to follow the most wonderful time of the year; if they did, you probably would’ve wisely refused. How does any one date compete with gift giving, stop-motion TV specials, carols sung by Nat King Cole, and themed Muppet movies?
I get it; I once dropped out of my fifth grade class’ talent show because Patrick Wenk was going before me and I had seen his engineer dad drag some massive Romanesque structure into the classroom earlier that day and Patrick was telling everyone that his act included lasers. Lasers. There was no way I was going up on that stage to perform a choreographed dance to “Oops! I Did it Again” after Patrick Wenk just bombarded everyone with a laser light show like some young Moby. And if there is one thing that kids like more than live multimedia performances, it’s Christmas. It’s hard to be December 26th, dragging your heels, pulling everyone out of their nog-induced comas and back into their offices, never once thinking that you could compete with Christmas. But you could, December 26th – and in countries other than the United States, you do.
May I present to you, Boxing Day. This day-after-Christmas holiday is celebrated by most countries in the Commonwealth, despite having unclear origins. Boxing Day doesn’t have a huge cultural presence in the US, unless you count that one Monty Python-addicted, “Oh, you’ve only seen the American Office?” guy who annually posts Boxing Day statuses on Facebook despite living in New Jersey – but that doesn’t mean that it can’t.
Everything I hear about Boxing Day sounds pretty nice: it’s a day of decompressing, of rummaging through your haul, pattering around your house sans pants, drinking cups of mulled wine in the shower, and eating leftovers, all without your anxiety-inducing extended family breathing down your neck. Inevitably Christmas is a time of both happy tears and manic, nothing-is-going-right, I-just-dropped-the-lamb-on-the-floor, Uncle-Ed-stop-looking-at-me tears, the kind of cries that come in short, intense jags and that you keep hidden in the bathroom or a closet. The only time you cry on Boxing Day is when you drunkenly watch Toy Story 3. Christmas is like the Martha Stewart of holidays, highlighting all of your insecurities and failures through it’s own twinkle-lighted perfection, the expectations it has; I imagine Boxing Day is more like Guy Fieri, but in a really delightful way. You could order-in buffalo wings with Guy Fieri, stay in bed and watch Ghostbusters and Die Hard with Guy Fieri; you could never do any of that with Martha around.
Having a day off to de-stress from being so full of spirit for all of Christmas (because otherwise your mother would ask you what’s wrong and wouldn’t drop it for hours even if you said you were fine) and to do things you really want, like visit museums or eat Chinese food, with the people you really want to be around, without “tradition” looming over you the entire day, sounds more than nice – it sounds necessary. So now you know for next year – demand Boxing Day in the U.S.! It’s for your health.