Sunday, December 26, 2010

Boxing Day and the First Day of Christmas

Today begins the traditional 12 Days of Christmas. According to several online sources, contrary to popular belief, these are not the twelve days before Christmas, but in most Western Churches, are the twelve days from Christmas until the beginning of Epiphany which is January 6th. The 12 days count from December 25th until January 5th, although in some traditions, the first day of Christmas begins on the evening of December 25th with the following day considered the First Day of Christmas (December 26th). In these traditions, the twelve days begin December 26 and include Epiphany on January 6. These are the days we voted to open our 12 Days of Christmas swap gifts.

Day One starts out with a lovely fabric wrap from Liz Kettle. I couldn't get the details of this fabric to show well, because it was so late this evening when I photographed it. However, the fabric is black with lovely gold threads running through it.

Inside the package, I found this gorgeous Partridge in a Pear Tree. Luckily, Liz explained to our group how she made it, so here is the description in her own words:
I began by painting a pear branch and partridge on watercolor paper. I am still very much a beginner with watercolors but think this turned out pretty well! I scanned the painting and reduced it to 5"x5". Then I printed it out on tissue paper 12 times using waterproof pigment inks. My base is a craft stabilizer to which I used a heat activated fusible web, Misty Fuse, to apply a sheet of gold scroll tissue paper. I cut these into 5" squares. Next, I used matte medium to apply the partridge in the pear tree image. The matte medium renders the tissue paper transparent. I stitched around the pears and leaves using gold metallic thread to finish up.
I would say Liz did a marvelous job as a beginner watercolor painter. This is one stunning, stunning piece and is the perfect addition to my collection.

In addition to the beginning of the 12 Days of Christmas, it's also Boxing Day in Canada, South Australia, and the UK. According to Wilkopedia "There are disparate theories as to the origins" of the term. The more common theories include:

It was the day when people would give a present or Christmas box to those who had worked for them throughout the year.

Many years ago in England, it was common practice for the servants to carry boxes to their employers when they arrived for their day's work on the day after Christmas. Their employers would then put coins in the boxes as special end-of-year gifts. The servants carried boxes for the coins, hence one possible theory for the name "Boxing Day." Both of the above theories can be compared to the modern day concept of Christmas bonuses.

Another theory is that it was traditional to open the church's donation box on Christmas Day, and the money in the donation box was to be distributed to the poorer or lower class citizens on the next day. In this case, the "box" in "Boxing Day" comes from that lockbox in which the donations were left.

"Boxing Day" was also the day when the wren, the king of birds, was captured and put in a box and introduced to each household in the village when he would be asked for a successful year and a good harvest.

Another theory of the name is that because staff and servants had to work on Christmas in England by serving the master of the house and his family, they were given the following day off. As servants were kept away from their own families to work on a traditional religious holiday and were not able to celebrate Christmas dinner, the customary benefit was to "box" up the leftover food from Christmas day and send it away with the servants and their families. Similarly, as the servants had the 26th off, the owners of the manor may have had to serve themselves pre-prepared, boxed food for that one day. Hence the "boxing" of food may also have been the reason for the term "Boxing Day."

Many people believe that "Boxing Day" is the day where families return unwanted presents to the store from which it came in exchange for money or other merchandise.

In the UK, it is a "bank" holiday, and is an optional holiday in Canada. In the US, it is the day we find super bargains at big box and local stores. Whatever the reason, here is how I spent "Boxing Day."

Today's blog belongs to Liz Kettle at Textile Evolution. You should check out Liz's blog, if for no other reason than to see her lovely art square. It is stunning and she has it photographed beautifully, too. It shows all the lovely stitching and rich detail that my photo didn't pick up. Liz is a seamstress, and has written books on various aspects of fabric design. Liz has appeared on Quilting Arts, the PBS TV series, and holds classes in her home in Colorado (in the US). Please check out Textile Evolution today.

4 thoughtful remarks:

Tammy Freiborg said...

And I thought it had something to do with gloves and a ring. ;)

Halle said...

Those are some fine goodies you bought! A wonderful page from Liz as well!!

Diane said...

I hope you had a wonderful Holiday--I'm ready to just settle down and hibernate!

Healing Woman said...

Great explanations of "Boxing Day" I first heard of it on Grand Cayman. The natives were boxing up clothes and supplies to send to Haiti. Apparently, they do this during the first week after Christmas, when I was there.

I loved the technique Liz Kettle used. I still don't know how she printed on tissue paper (12 times) That was unclear to me. Beautiful result though.