On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me Two Turtle Doves…
December 26th is here and so this is the “Second Day of Christmas.” I am following the Western Christian traditions for my Twelve days. In the Eastern tradition, (Orthodox Churches) the Twelve Days of Christmas begin today.
December 26th, or The Feast of Stephen, is a holiday in many parts of the what was the British Empire – and now the Commonwealth Nations. In most Commonwealth Countries it is called Boxing Day. Why the day is called Boxing Day isn’t exactly clear – however most sources cite that the “box” being referenced has to do with those better off helping out those in need with gifts of money and durable goods. It is thought that since these gifts were often given in boxes – that the day became know as Boxing Day.
No matter the reason for being called Boxing Day, December 26th then at it’s heart is about helping those in need. This is reflected in the Christmas Carol “Good King Wenceslas“, which has the opening lines:
Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the Feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even;
King Wenceslas sees a poor man gathering winter fuel, and the King with his page brave harsh winter weather to provide alms to the poor man. This carol – about kindness the day after the “birth of Christ” – captures that Christmas celebrations continue after December 25. (There are other Christmas carols that also show that Christmastide is an extended celebration and I will mention them over the next few days.)
The Second Day of Christmas is the perfect day to act on the Christmas spirit of giving. Think of those in need, and take action to give to those that need some help. Often on Christmas Day many of us receive a bounty of generous giving – and we then have the problem of where to put those “new things.” December 26 provides us with the opportunity to move on those things we no longer need to others that can use them.
As well, since it is near the end of the “fiscal year” December 26th provides a perfect opportunity to gain tax receipts for charitable giving. Take the time to write a cheque to a charitable cause that is important to you. You’ll feel better, the charity will be further ahead, and you may get a tax refund later as a gift to yourself. Win-Win-Win!
In celebrating any event food and drink are an important part of the equation. I couldn’t find any specific foods – but I suspect that traditionally December 26th is the feast of left-overs! Perhaps today would be a good day to organize a festive potluck with friends and you can exchange left-overs with each other. Someone else’s left-overs may actually seem like added variety.
Merry Second Day of Christmas to you!
- Two Turtle Doves…Well, Maybe Not! (babyjill7.wordpress.com)
- Last Christmas? Partridges and turtle doves face risk of extinction in UK (guardian.co.uk)
- The Twelve Days Of Christmas (programmingpraxis.com)
- On the Second day of Christmas, my Normy gave to me… (daily-norm.com)