Monday, December 26, 2011

Hooray! Hooray! It's Boxing Day!

The day after Christmas is typically a bittersweet occasion. On the one hand, there are warm memories of the previous day spent with family and friends, plenty of leftover food and sweets, and, hopefully, some thoughtful gifts to enjoy. On the other hand, there's that let-down feeling that inevitably follows anything good, not to mention guests who just won't leave, mountains of unappetizing food you end up eating anyway just because it's there, and those fun-filled visits to the gift exchange counters to return whatever ill-fitting or distasteful gifts you received. Like so much of life, it's all in how you look at things. Since Christmas this year fell on Sunday, many businesses will remain closed today in order to provide employees with a separate paid day off for Christmas over and above the Sunday off that most would have had in any event. This puts us on par with the British, who for years have extended their Christmas holiday through the 26th to commemorate Boxing Day. The purpose, supposedly, was to facilitate the traditional practice whereby the wealthy would box up whatever stuff they no longer wanted for their servants to cart off as part of the post-Christmas clean-up. That's a nice custom, I suppose, but so, too, is allowing folks an extra day to buy more stuff at the mall, push the last guests out the door, or nibble away at what's left of the holiday roast. What's more, an extra day's holiday would allow time for some appropriate post-holiday music, like any of the following tunes (click on the title of each to listen or download):

Boxing Day, by Dave Kleiner and Liz Pagan -- Written by third-grade teacher Dave Kleiner, this song successfully captures the mix of emotions so many of us feel on the day after Christmas. It features Dennis Diken of the Smithereens on drums, and Graham Maby of the Joe Jackson Band on bass.

After Christmas Syndrome, by A-Side Willie -- This song was written and performed by Geoffrey Willis, who adopted the name "A-Side Willie" after winning first place in a St. Louis songwriting contest and, as a result, the featured spot on the "A side" of the 45 RPM record that was produced in conjunction with the competition. It also captures the peculiar angst of this day rather well. A-Side also composed "A New Song for Old 66" which he wrote in honor of the famous California highway. 

I've Had a Very Merry Christmas, by Jerry Lewis -- This song has the distinction of spending more time than any other track on my "hold for next year's CD" list. I've considered using it on each of my past five holiday CDs but decided against it every time. I think that's because rather than expressing gratitude for a pleasant holiday, as the title suggests, this song is the product of a spoiled ingrate who feels compelled to complain about the many gifts he received. The title, in other words, is meant to be sarcastic. I figure since I'm posting it here today, I no longer need to consider it for next year's CD. Does that sound fair to you? (PS:  Lest you think that Mr. Lewis's resentment is unique, some poor wretch appears to have spent a good part of the past 24 hours combing through people's Christmas tweets to find similar examples of boorish ingratitude. I'm hoping many of THESE were written in jest, but I wouldn't bet on it.)

Hang in there, everybody. Next Sunday is New Year's Day, and, therefore, time for a fresh start.

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