As a self-professed Anglophile, I always take a moment on the day after Christmas to celebrate Boxing Day. This holiday is almost two-hundred years old and was established to provide gifts to the poor. No cooler reason than that to have a holiday, right? Wherever we travelled overseas, at my mother’s insistence, we did NOT live in the embassies or military installations. Mom made sure we were placed smack dab in the middle of assimilating as much of foreign cultures as we were able in our peripatetic existence. So we lived in small towns and villages. One of those benefits was making friends with people I would never had the opportunity to meet. I remember in 1967, my friend Tony and I helped an orphanage in Oxford, a city only a few miles from the Upper Heyford Air Force base where my stepfather was stationed. Talk about awesome. These were kids who really had nothing themselves who realized there were children even MORE needy than they were, who did not have the “luxury” of a guaranteed roof over their heads, or a hot meal in their stomachs. So we helped the orphanage round up some homeless individuals and what ended up being about thirty children and invited them into the dining hall for a nice hot meal of boiled beef, roasted potatoes, fresh vegetables, and Yorkshire pudding. To see the little faces of the children as they hungrily supped was only exceeded by the gleams in their eyes when they opened up their presents. This was my first introduction to Boxing Day and in a perfect world, it would be Boxing Day all-year round until there is no need for one. Throw a blanket in your car when you leave your house and find someone to give it to. A bottle of water. Get a couple fast-food hamburgers (should take all of five minutes of your busy day) and give them to someone who needs them.
I speak about kindness (go figure, under the letter K) in my book EMOTIONS: Not Your Mama’s ABC’s!:
…” Oh, we always hear stories of kindness around the holidays and we always ask “why can’t people do nice things like that all year long?” I personally enjoy the feeling of Christmas every bit, if not more than, the holiday itself. One of the main reasons we choose (yes my wife has once again enabled my insanity) to keep Christmas lights up in our front room all year long. I’m a total sucker for Christmas movies. Anything with a dog (that doesn’t die), anything with orphans, the elderly, or the hopeless, I will watch and smart money says I’ll be crying like a baby before it is all over.
That is why it absolutely makes me sick that someone chose to desecrate the single most personally-treasured holiday on this entire planet. Universally celebrated in some fashion or another and held closest to the little hearts of children. They still see the world as a place of wonder and magical possibilities. You can take shots at the Easter Bunny (no pun intended), you can really have a Turkey Shoot, but you leave Christmas alone! I speak of the proliferation of Santa slasher movies that began after 1984’s Silent Night, Deadly Night. He is the first writer I remember who used his quill to burst the collective bubbles of all of us waiting for St. Nicholas on Christmas Eve. By doing so, he has irreversibly destroyed an institution that was meant to last for all time. He had no human right to impinge unholy images into our children’s hopeful bright eyes. In the process he stained what is arguably the very best day of each year we are fortunate to be alive for. The selfishness to cause such irrevocable damage to the Holiest of days is absolutely unforgivable.
I wish I had thought of it.”