Partly as a response to my childhood desolation on the day after Christmas every year ("whaddya mean, it's all over?"), as an adult, I created my own holiday.
Of course, I didn't do it alone. It happened like this: The year I turned 21, I lived with 3 male roommates in an extremely drafty old farmhouse. We were all poor starving college kids who had to go home for Christmas to get a square meal, if not for the familial bliss. One of the guys actually had a cunning plan to snag some firewood while he was at the old homestead, hoping to alleviate some of the draftiness for all of us. We struggled to buy presents for our kin, apologizing to each other for the fact that not one of us could afford gifts for the other three roommates.
We were sitting around bemoaning the fact that Christmas for us as young adults had lost some of its magic. Not only that, but we all agreed that the people we really wanted to celebrate with were right there, rather than the families we had struggled so hard to liberate ourselves from as young adults. It came to me in that moment that what we needed was our own celebration. We agreed that we were going to claim the day after Christmas as our very own. No presents were needed, we planned to relax together in front of the newly-purloined fire, share any spoils of leftovers we could score from our family feasts, and generally extend the spirit of Christmas into the following day. It even already had a convenient name: Boxing Day.
The first Boxing day, with only the four of us, is a memory I will always treasure. Not because we were finally warm (though that was an important component at the time), and not because we ate like kings (though we did). The really precious thing was feeling for the first time that I really had the power, as an adult, to choose my own people with whom to spend special times. And special times are the ones you decide that you will have, not the ones declared by the calendar.
Today I'm spending the 19th annual Boxing Day with my college roommates. A lot has happened since the first year. I married one of them. We are the Godparents of the child of one of the others. This year we celebrated the marriage of the third roomy. Other dear souls have been added to our number. One wretched year we lost two. Still another abandoned us without explanation. But the roommates, and their spouses, and their children, and the rest of our closest friends still gather on Boxing Day. Sometimes we reflect on the prior year. Often we debrief from holiday stress. We always plan the New Year's Celebration. What really matters for me is that Christmas doesn't end on December 25th. Christmas is for Christ. Christmas is for family. Christmas is for children. Boxing Day is for Kinship.
Call your closest friends today and invite them over for leftovers. Share my tradition and spread the blessing of love and gratefulness to the friends you love the most, and who you may not have had time for in the last busy weeks. After all, relations are foist upon us; our friends we get to choose.
Oh, and one more thing:
The Madrona yarn is here. Behold the Glory. Kits and updates coming soon, very soon.
In the meantime, Tidings of Comfort and Joy.