Hump Day: Boxing Day is a well-earned day of rest after Christmas

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

It’s the day after Christmas. Boxing Day.

Today is also called St. Stephen’s Day and the Feast of St. Stephen, a day made famous in the carol Good King Wenceslas, who determinedly trekked forth in the snow to give charity to a peasant.

Here in Canada, it’s Boxing Day, traditionally a day when servants and tradespeople would receive presents from their bosses. That tradition has long ago gone the way of the dodo bird, however, as it’s now pretty much just the ‘day after Christmas’ and a day to get some good deals in many parts of the country where the stores are open. Although our Boxing Day sales haven’t quite hit Black Friday levels yet, we’re close!

Here in New Brunswick, we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to get those deals, which suits me just fine.

After the mad rush of Christmas shopping, it’s good to give everyone a break from spending money like crazy.

Did you know that today – St. Stephen’s Day – actually has a traditional food? It’s called St. Stephen’s pie, which is the same as shepherd’s pie, except the ground beef is replaced with ham or turkey.

And, of course, there are a variety of places named after good ol’ Steve, too, including our own St. Stephen, N.B.

Regardless of whether you call it St. Stephen’s Day or Boxing Day, our reality is that it’s just the plain old day after Christmas. After the turkey dinners over the past few days, today is being spent in turkey comas looking at the now-opened gifts under the tree, leftovers in the refrigerator and crying children who’ve managed to break their first toys.

I wonder what it’s like at the North Pole today? Does Santa have friction burn on his backside from scooting down all those chimneys?

Are the elves trying to relax after pulling a few months’ worth of all-nighters?

Or maybe they’re just coming down from exhaustion-fuelled crying jags. An exhausted elf is not a pretty sight.

Are the reindeer fast asleep after their whirlwind trip around the world? Are they still mad at Rudolph for getting all the glory again this year? And did Dancer and Prancer really hold hooves all the way across Asia? Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Did the gossip about Blitzen, Mrs. Claus and their ‘plum pudding making sessions’ make it back to Santa? If you see Jolly Ol’ St. Nick firing up the barbecue and announcing that Blitzen has resigned ‘to spend more time with his family,’ you’ll know that something’s up. Oh, and I’ll pass on that steak. Thanks, anyway, Santa!

Yes, the North Pole must be a really strange place today. Exhaustion. Snoring.

The sound of Christmas music CDs being broken in half. ‘Take that, Bing Crosby!’ one frustrated elf is likely saying – the thought of hearing one more holiday tune being enough to send them over the edge. Then, there’s the sound of the odd screech from an elf who’s stepped on a leftover tack that fell on the floor during the toy-making frenzy.

Hopefully, after the latest public education effort, incidences of ‘tinsel lung’ (the leading cause of death among elves) will be way down this year. Yes, unfortunately, there are even addicts among elves. After downing too much eggnog and chowing down on one too many candy canes, some elves have gotten into the bad habit of inhaling tinsel. Some say it gives them more creativity when coming up with new toys ideas.

Today, the North Pole probably looks like the aftermath of one of those mega-concerts at Magnetic Hill. Eggnog cartons everywhere. Lost elf hats blowing around in the wind. A passed-out reindeer in the corner. (Cupid ate too many gingerbread men again.) Piles of candy cane wrappers. A bonfire made from toys rejected by the NPQAC (North Pole Quality Assuredness Council). Elmo being rushed to the hospital by ambulance after a careless elf threw him in the fire without realizing he was actually the real Elmo – and not a deficient Tickle Me Elmo toy.

And then, of course, there are the annual union complaints against Santa Claus. Local 1 of the AUETM (Amalgamated Union of Elf Toy Makers) has their annual meeting today to go over what worked and what didn’t during the holiday season. First, there are the usual complaints. Don’t let all those friendly ‘Ho Ho Hos!’ fool you. Santa Claus is quite the taskmaster.

The union’s top labour requests this year include 1) Stopping the requirement for elves to wear diapers while on the production line in order to cut down on bathroom breaks; 2) 50-per-cent reduction of sprinkles on employer-supplied sugar cookies causing unhealthy blood sugar deficiencies. Elves’ blood must be maintained at 90% sugar or more. 3) Pensionable retirement age for elves raised from 650 years old to 670 years old. This has caused increased incidents of elderly elves falling asleep on toy train tracks and being decapitated by passing toy locomotives.

Yup, the North Pole is in a bit of disarray today. Oh – and ‘Boxing’ Day does actually mean something up there, too. The elves fight in a boxing tournament to determine who’ll be elected president of their union. It’s not pretty, but it works.

If you’re bored today because mostly everything is closed, just be thankful you’re not en elf. Yesterday, they slept. Today, they clean up. Tomorrow, they start all over again. After all, to an elf, Christmas is like giving birth. As soon as it’s over, they never want it to happen again, but give it a couple of days and the memories of the discomfort melt away only to be replaced by the visions of smiling children. Hug an elf today!

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