Today is Boxing Day. Every country settled by the English, except the US, celebrates Boxing Day. I had never heard of Boxing Day until I met Gordon. But now I recognize it nearly with as much celebratory gusto as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Boxing Day originated in England and some say it was the day that servants were given off. They worked Christmas Day, but were given a boxed gift from their employers on the day after Christmas. Hence the name, Boxing Day.
Another theory is that it's the day that people gave boxed gifts to those who had served them throughout the year; postal workers, milk men, porters, etc.
The tried and true facts, I really don't know. But Boxing Day, December 26, is a holiday up here.
Today we had our big Christmas meal. Gordon's mother joined us. It's been a really good day. We think we are onto a Christmas rhythm that we want to remember for the future. It's been one of the most relaxing, deeply fulfilling Christmases I can remember. Blissfully low key, yet totally satisfying.
I did a serious no-no though. Unknowingly, I dealt my family grief. Here's how. I have never ever bought Stove Top Stuffing. But I've been served Stove Top quite a few times and have grown accustomed to it and even kind of like it. I always make cornbread dressing, all from scratch. I didn't realize till today that my family is committed to the Southern style of dressing.
The trouble started when the kids came from the pantry wanting to know why we had Stove Top boxes. I told them they were on sale 50% off and I thought, Heck, why not. No one will care and it will make my day lots easier. The groaned like I told them we drinking strychnine for cocktails.
Later Gordon was on the phone to our friends in Calgary who are coming to Edmonton tomorrow. Gordon was telling them we would eat leftovers tomorrow. "Valerie makes this cornbread dressing like you wouldn't believe..."
At this point, much too late to start the cornbread dressing, I realized, Oh shoot, it really does matter to my family. So with shame, I served my Stove Top Stuffing. I really felt like a cheater. The time and effort saved were not worth it.
As we hashed all this over at the table, I remembered a conversation I had with my family when I was in Arkansas recently. We were discussing dressing and how it comes in two versions: Yankee and Southern. We discussed our tastes, all of us, being from the South, agreed that Southern dressing is the only way to go. I however told them I had had some good Yankee (Northern) dressing.
My brother mockingly rebuked me for my lack of loyalty. He sighed and said, "Valerie, there was a war fought for this cause."
(Just in case you don't get it, he was joking that the Civil War was about Northern versus Southern Dressing.)