My mom’s famous line was “They call it boxing day because that’s when you box up the tree.” We’d put up the tree as a family on the first Saturday after December 1st. The lights would be turned on after dinner and shut off before we went to bed and then they’d be on all day on Christmas Day until we’d drive out to visit nearby family in the evening after dinner. Boxing Day we’d get up early and have a special breakfast and then the storage boxes would come out and we’d take down all of the decorations and put them back on the basement shelves before their next time to shine – December 1st of the next year. My parents were of a generation that had seen hunger and extreme poverty and had come to Canada from Germany for a better life. They wanted to honour the traditions of their new home but to do so economically. I never really understood until I was an adult and started paying those electric bills myself.
My parents are gone now but I honour the tradition they started in a new way. When the children were small we’d go to my parents house and spend the day with them taking down decorations but now that they’re gone and the kids are grown, they come home and we spend the day together. We make a special breakfast and then spend time enjoying each other before heading out for a nice lunch. Sometimes we check out the boxing day sales and sometimes we just stay at home. There are even those rare years if the wife and I are heading to Florida where the boxes come out and the tree comes down. What seemed silly when I was young is now a cherished memory that I will always have with my parents and share with my children.
Mathias – Windsor