Since I mentioned we were going to be thirty-four for Christmas Dinner, I thought I'd post some pictures of the morning after!
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Today is December 26th. It's the feast day of St. Stephen, Boxing Day in England and Canada, or perhaps you know it as 50% off All Christmas Merchandise Day. By whatever name, it's one of the best days in the whole Christmas season. The presents are already bought, wrapped and unwrapped. If you haven't gotten Christmas cards out yet, you now have a pass until next year. If you hosted Christmas Dinner, like we did, leftovers mean you don't have to cook for another couple of days, and if you didn't, you still likely have enough treats and temptations to graze on. All the work that goes into making Christmas is behind, with nothing but the pleasure of Christmas to look forward to. All right, you do have to bang out those thank-you letters today. But after that...?
For my family, the season between December 25th and Epiphany is a time filled with reading books, playing cutthroat board games, going to the movies and seeing friends. We go swimming at the Y, binge-watch Lord of the Rings and take long walks on snowshoes (this year it'll be with boots. We're having a wet, green Christmas in southern Maine.) We're particularly lucky - because Ross is a teacher, he's off work from before Christmas Day until after New Years. This year, the timing of both holidays means he and Youngest are at home until January 4. Then it'll be Twelfth night on the 5th, time for a second, smaller dinner party with our friends who weren't able to make it for Christmas Day.
The actual season of Christmas is often lost in the rush of events, pushed aside by retailers and ignored by the 24-hour-a-day Christmas radio stations, who drop "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" well before most people have taken theirs down. It's a shame, because keeping Christmas - the twelve days that brighten the darkest and coldest part of winter - is, in my experience, the best way to enjoy it. It prevents the post-presents hangover and keeps you from feeling like you've spent a month building up a single day and is that really it?
How about you, Reds? Do you keep Christmas after December 25th? What are your pleasures and pursuits between now and the New Year?
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Oh, see, I've solved this. I am SO behind that I will spend the day after Christmas (and Day too, most likely) doing my holiday, er, new years cards. It's not procrastination, or overwork, or tight scheduling, right? It's EXTENDING the season. Plus, the revisions of WHAT YOU SEE are due on Jan 2, and --I have to write a short story. And come up with a brilliant synopsis for another book. Or two. Rum a pum pum. #needanotherweekortwo
RHYS BOWEN: I have fourteen people sleeping over on Christmas night so I'm anticipating Boxing Day (as we still call it) will start with a huge breakfast. If the weather is nice I hope we'll take a hike or play bocce ball. And like Julia, several board games or charades. This year our new game is Selfies. Someone has to take a selfie and the others have to choose the best caption for it. And the old favorite is Taboo.
John and I are actually invited to a rather swank party in the evening so we'll leave the kids to fend for themselves. Hopefully lots of leftovers.
HALLIE EPHRON: Between Christmas and New Year is a quiet time for us and especially sweet when either of our daughters are visiting. Julia, I'm coming to your house!
LUCY BURDETTE: I agree Hallie--Julia's post Christmas weeks sound lovely and relaxing! Alas, I'm almost as behind as Hank so I'll be right back to work. I would go to the post-Christmas decoration sales, but there isn't much of that in Key West. It's the high season and no one wants to slash prices right now.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Julia, I love the quiet week between Christmas and New Year's. I want to watch all those Christmas movies I didn't get to, listen to Christmas music, and enjoy my tree. All the things I somehow didn't find time for BEFORE. But like everyone else I have load of work, so will sneak in what I can.
Julia, I don't know how you manage 34 for dinner. You will tell us, won't you? (We will assume you're still standing!)
JULIA: Still standing, though you'll notice this conversation didn't make it onto the blog until 9:30 in the morning! We have a large old farmhouse, a really big dining room table, and friends with good quality folding tables and chairs. So: 12 at the dining room table, 6 in the table by the Christmas tree (which gets taken down immediately after eating to clear the space for musicians and singers,) 8 20-somthings in the parlour and six college-and high-school youths at the kitchen table. We serve from the library, in the middle of all three rooms.
A festive time was had by all, as you can see from the pictures...
How about you, dear readers? What are your plans for the Feast of Stephen and beyond?