Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Boxing Day!!

by Anna Sugden

Boxing Day? What is it? For many it is a great sporting day, for others a time to hit the shops for the best bargains, and for the rest of us, it's another day of eating and relaxing (and maybe some sport on the telly - Go Manchester United and Exeter City!)

In the UK and other Commonwealth countries, the day after Christmas (also known as St Stephen's Day) is a national holiday, called Boxing Day. There are a number of explanations as to how it got its name - but the most popular/well-known is that is the day when people would give a 'Christmas box' or gift to those who worked for them.

In feudal times, it was when the lord of the manor would hand out the equivalent of a Christmas bonus to his serfs and tenants. It was usually a box of practical goods like food and cloth, maybe even some tools.

I believe that later, anyone who had servants, would either give 'boxed-up' left-overs from Christmas lunch to those servants to eat the following day or they would even cook for their household.

Over time, it evolved into employers giving either money (the basis for the Christmas bonus) or a gift. In many towns and villages, it was also the day when the church donation boxes were opened and the contents shared out among the poor of the locality.

Today, there are still many who give presents or bonuses to people like the milkmen, postmen, dustbin men, paper boys etc on Boxing Day.

Wherever you are and whatever you are doing today - I hope you are having a wonderful Boxing Day. May you be happy and healthy and ... totally stuffed from all the holiday goodies! And may your favourite teams win (unless they're playing against mine!).

For those of you who have been following our recipes, here is my recipe for Boxing Day Soup (aka what to do with all the Christmas left-overs!)

2 pints of chicken or turkey stock (we usually boil up the turkey carcasse and make our own)
2 or 3 large leeks
1 large onion
1 large chunk of butter
A big bowl leftover turkey meat (we use the dark meat and save the white meat for sandwiches or other dishes)
Left-over roast potatoes
Left-over roasted root vegetables eg parsnips, carrots etc
Left-over bread sauce and stuffing and gravy
(NB do not include any left-over brussel sprouts or other green vegetables - they'll add a bitter taste!)

1. Melt butter in a large, heavy saucepan
2. Chop onion and leeks and cook until they become translucent
3. Add chopped turkey meat
4. Chop roast potatoes and root vegetables into chunks and add to the saucepan.
5. Add the stock and stir while bringing the stock up to a simmer.
6. Stir in the left-over gravy, bread sauce and stuffing.
7. Let the soup simmer on the stove until it has a thick and hearty consistency.
8. Serve and enjoy. As a little extra touch, I like to add a large spoonful of sour cream.

So, what are you up to on this Boxing Day? If you're watching sport, who are you supporting?
As a special Boxing Day prize, I'm giving away a $10 Barnes & Noble gift card.


Helen said...

Have I got the GR is he having an extended stay in warmer weather

Have Fun

Helen said...

I am having a rest day today I have been sitting in the recliner watching the Boxing Day test cricket match between Australia and India with a box of chocolates close by and a book in my hand I am very good at watching sport and reading at the same time.
I am still full from all the eating I did yesterday but chocolates don't take up that much room. After being so cool yesterday here in Australia today is rather warm so I think the AC will be going on soon just to help me rest before I go back to work tomorrow.
Anna that soup receipe sounds wonderful I will jot it down and make some in winter I loved the post and I hope your teams win I like Manchester United as well love watching the English soccer my Hubby and I often watch the games.
I will keep the GR cool in this heat and I am sure he is enjoying the rest and the cricket.
Have Fun

doglady said...

Congrats, Helen! He definitely prefers the warmer weather!! Anna, my brothers are huge fans of Manchester United in spite of the fact we haven't lived in England since 1971. In fact both of their rooms at my Mom's sport huge Manchester United scarves in their decor. Unfortunately, I have to work tomorrow (it is still Christmas Day here)otherwise I would definitely be watching sports, reading and eating chocolates!

Stacey Kayne said...

Happy Holidays, Banditas! I hope y'all are having a faboulous Boxing Day :) Lovely post, Anna! Go Manchester United and Exeter City!! ;-)

flchen1 said...

Congrats, Helen!

Thanks for the neat post, Anna! I'd love to leave a little something for our faithful garbage/recycling collectors, but am trying to figure out how to best do that without running out into the street at the crack of dawn in my nightclothes trying desperately to chase them down ;)

p226 said...

Bah. I'm working. But after work, I'm going to brave the crowds and go burn up some gift cards I got yesterday.

I imagine work will be FOM for 8 hours. I doubt half the company will even be present.

Joan said...

And here I always thought Boxing Day was about....well....boxing LOL.

I just got a "bonus" My unit at the hospital is closed and I get to stay home! Woohoo! Now back to zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Dianna Love Snell said...

I love learning about how holidays or traditions came about. Never heard of Boxing Day before. Thanks for the new recipe...for my husband. "g" He's definitely the cook in the family, thank goodness. We had a nontraditional meal and just chilled out for the day, but will keep this recipe in our file for the next time we have turkey and the trimmings.

Hi p226.And here I thought I was the only one up working this morning.

Happy Holidays Banditos and hope your favorite sport teams have a winning week.


hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I have to go to work today too :-( End of month waits for no one so I will be going crazy trying to catch up for the week I was off. My boss may have surprised me and done the daily reports but I doubt it.

brownone said...

My poor husband had to go to work so now I'm home with my three excited brats who are just dying to open (break) every single new toy they got! I usually let them open only two on Christmas Day, one the next day, and then put the rest up to distribute throughout the year. Believe me, they don't NEED any more toys. My son's room is so loaded I can't even see what color carpet is in there. I'm hoping to go to Target today as I've got a gift card burning a hole in my pocket! :-)

Jane said...

I'm just going to lie on the couch and stuff my face even more. The NY Rangers are playing tonight, so I'll be rooting for them.

Laura J. said...

Well today we are going to rest. Yeah right. I'm gonna clean up after having everyone at our house yesterday. Middle son is going to tennis camp. Oldest son will be glued to his new XBox and youngest will probably be on the computer getting to know her Webkinz. I may try to head out later today and head to a bookstore if I get really brave. I'm watching the news now and the traffic is not looking good.

We still have one more Christmas dinner to attend this weekend, but it is at a resturaunt.

Hope everyone had a nice day yesterday and the rest of the week is good too!

Amy S. said...

Thanks for the recipe! I plan on relaxing today. Reading a good book.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Anna -

Is Boxing Day the day the servants get to be waited on by the lords & ladies of the manor?

Everyone goes back to work today, so I'll be trying to get back into the old routine. I need to return some duplicate gifts for my sister, but I dread heading to the mall today. Loved the recipe. We have enough leftovers to last a few more meals before tossing everything into soup. That's the beauty of all that holiday cooking - leftovers *g*

Buffie said...

Hey Ladies!!! Great post Anna! I love hearing about Boxing Day. I had to giggle when you mentioned Manchester United. My nephew is an avid soccer buff and LOVES Manchester United. I was able to find him a MU shirt for Christmas and he was so excited.

Me, I have two boys who received wayyyyy too many toys that make noise. The hubby had to go to work today, so the kids and I are trying to clean up all the stuff from yesterday. We have already run a couple errands and I have been to three bookstores looking for Jacquie D'Alessandro's latest and no one has it in yet -- bummer!

Hope you all have a great day!

MsHellion said...

Happy Boxing Day! I'm for the Chudley Cannons...though technically they don't exist. Though if Quidditch did exist, I think I could become a sports fan!

Anna Sugden said...

Congrats on the GR, Helen ... enjoy the cricket!

Glad you like the recipe - we're boining the turkey carcasse for the stock right now!

Anna Sugden said...

Yay, Doglady and Helen on more Man U fans! So far, so good - my boys are winning 3-0! And Exeter are winning too!

Hugs on having to work Doglady.

Anna Sugden said...

It's a very happy Boxing Day, Stacey - got your new book! Hey everyone, check out Stacey's Maverick Wild!!!

Anna Sugden said...

Flchen1 - that's the same problem we always had ... let me know if you solve it!

Anna Sugden said...

Uggh on having to work for you too, P226. At least you can treat yourself once the day is over!

Anna Sugden said...

LOL Joanie - in some families, after spending so much time together, it probably is!

Yay on getting the extra time off!

Anna Sugden said...

Hey Dianna! My hubby is the better cook by far - I'm enjoying another of his baking delights this morning - traditional English Christmas cake, made from his mother's recipe.

KimW said...

I'm heading out to brave the big crowds at the mall and hopefully catch some "I can't resist. Too good to pass up" sales.

Anna Sugden said...

Hope your boss gives you that surprise treat, Hrdwrkmom. Sorry you have to work. We need a petition to get the US to celebrate Boxing Day!

Brownone - like the way you think! Happy shopping at Target!

Jane - enjoy ... glad to see another hockey fan ... even if you do support the Rangers (I'm a Devils fan *grin*).

Sounds like you all have a busy day planned, Laura J. A book is definitely a nice reward for the dreaded cleaning!

Anna Sugden said...

You and me both, Amy - which book are you reading? I just finished the latest Debbie Macomber Christmas angels' book - I love Shirley, Goodness and Mercy!

Anna Sugden said...

Donna - yes, I think in some manors, that was the case. I also thought it was the same with Royalty, but I couldn't find anything to back up my info ... so I hedged *grin*.

Yay Buffie - and there are more Man Utd fans! We're season ticket holders *grin*. Hope you find Jacquie's book. I know Tawny's latest is out in our stores, so maybe you can get that instead.

MsHellion - so are the Chudleigh Canons winning?!

Kim - good luck braving the hordes at the mall! Hope you get a bargain!

Joan said...

Ok, got a soccer question for ya'll.

Several years ago, I was in Ireland at a pub. (hm..imagine that)and observed a bunch of people who seemed to be celebrating something. I asked a fellow next to me about it and he said the different counties were in some sort of soccer playoffs. Two of the fans greeted each other with a "Up, Tyrone!"

Is that like saying "Go, team?"

I was also there the year Ireland went to the World Cup. The streets were ghost towns during the televised games. I had my lovely 17 year old goddaughter with me who kept grumbling out loud "What's the big deal?" Shhhhhh... Lauren. We want to get out of here alive!

Maureen said...

I have to work today but everyone who is off I hope your day is a great one.

jo robertson said...

Congrats on the capture, Helen!

Anna, what an interesting post. I must confess my ignorance. I never knew what Boxing Day was all about. (Hangs head in serious shame!)

I love to hit the after-Christmas sales. It's dorky, it's crazy, and it's FUN! I especially like going if I don't actually WANT anything or have to return items. I wait until after the first for those tasks.

But I love browsing and standing in line for 30 minutes, knowing I can just walk away if it gets too hectic. A little twisted, but what can I say?

Since I taught school, I've never had to work during the holidays. I always feel so bad for people in retail. Yikes!

And leftovers! I adore leftovers even more than the original meal. So, since we had Christmas dinner on Christmas eve at my son's house (waaahhh, no leftovers), I cooked my own turkey late last night -- just so I could have leftovers today!

Anna Sugden said...

Yes, Joanie - Tyrone is the county and they're both fans *grin*. And hey, what better place to watch a game than in a pub?!

Maureen - hope you'll treat yourself when you get home from work.

Anna Sugden said...

Jo - you're not nutty for enjoying the shopping ... but cooking just for left-overs?! *big grin*.

Actually - I love left-overs too. Especially the stuffed muchrooms I make for Christmas ... so simple, I can make loads and they even taste yummy cold! Can't wait for the stock to finish cooking so I can get the Boxing Day soup on.

Shari C said...

Resting!!! Had a wonderful holiday and now have to recuperate. I love Christmas and enjoyed as much of they day as I could.

Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and had all their wishes come true.

ellie said...

When I lived in Canada Boxing Day was a big shopping day and I avoided it due to crowds. Now that I am in the U.S. it is very popular even though it isn't referred to with that name. I just work out and relax. Prefer to wait until Jan. for the sales.

ruth said...

I am home doing cleanup and then will spend time reading and relaxing on the internet. I had an early morning invigorating walk in the sunshine which felt wonderful.

Anna Sugden said...

Have a lovely relaxing day, Shari - what do you do to relax?

Ellie - I'm with you ... avoid the shops until I absolutely have to! I managed to do all my Christmas shopping without setting foot inside a mall!

BTW, Ellie, did you see that you won Caridad's prize? If not, go and check out the prize announcement, so you don't miss out!

Anna Sugden said...

Sounds like the perfect day, Ruth. I'll be doing the same!

pearl said...

Boxing Day is a real tradition in the colonies but here it is another shopping day with the hordes. Shopping during the quiet time is preferable so I wait and then it is easier and more sane. A lesiurely walk with the dogs is something that I look forward to on our gorgeous days here.

Anna Campbell said...

I think the GR must be enjoying the warmer climes, Helen! Congratulations!

When I was a wee lassie, I always thought Boxing Day involved, well, boxing. You would, wouldn't you? My mother always used to call our big Christmas present our Christmas box so clearly the term still survives. Anna, great post!

petite said...

A quiet day which is fine with me. I will sit out in the backyard for the lovely rays which I need and enjoy. Have a wonderful day and best wishes for a great new year.

CrystalGB said...

I have been cleaning the house today. It was a disaster after all the festivities.

jo robertson said...

LOL, Anna, yes cooking for the leftovers is a little sick, I admit, so we had a very late Christmas Day dinner (hummmmm, maybe why I had a tummy ache last night?).

Stuff mushrooms! Get outta here! I love those buggers. Yum! My stepgranddaughter made an artichoke dip that was to die for! She's 16 and watches the food network a lot! Chef in the making.

MsHellion said...

You know I don't think the Chudley Cannons ever win, really...I should probably root for Ireland, since they have the best brooms. *LOL* And all those accents, of course.

Suzanne Welsh said...

What a great post, Anna. I always thought boxing day would be great to celebrate in the states, but the 26th is usually the return day! So far we have only one gift to return and I let dear hubby do that.

When the kids were younger and living at home, I'd take them to the movies...if I could drag them away from their presents.

For the past 3 Christmases or so I've been at the bookstore on the 26th, buying books with the gift cards the kids gave me. I'd planned to be there today to pick up Julie Garwood's new book, Shadow Music, only no one got me a gift card this year!! Instead, one of the girls found it at a store on Christmas Eve!!! SQUEAL!!!

So, I've read the beginning and will spend the day reading.

Happy Boxing Day to everyone.

Aunty Cindy said...


Thanx for the great post, VA! I knew Boxing Day involved boxes, but I was thinking "returns" in boxes... Fortunately, I don't have any of those this year, but I do have some wonderful gift cards to spend... LATER, when the crowds ebb a bit, like after Easter maybe. :-P

Okay, yesterday Gillian asked for some words of wisdom for her mom who is lucky enough to be going to Italy in April. This is the advice I give ANYONE who is going ANYWHERE: a few days before you leave, lay out everything you are going to pack. Now, put half of it back in the closet or chest, and TAKE TWICE AS MUCH MONEY!

No, I'm not kidding.

But Gillian, if you or your mom have any specific questions about the area around Florence or Italy in general, you can email me at the Bandits email address on the top of our Wanted Poster. I will say 2 quick things 1) If you don't eat well while you are in Italy, you just aren't trying! The food is MAGNIFICO! esp. the gelato. 2) Italians are wonderfully friendly people and if you try to speak any Italian, they will LOVE YOU FOREVER!

Looking forward to 2008,

Anna Sugden said...

Pearl - I had a nice walk with my cats. They love it outisde, but I can't let them out on their own.

That's funny, Foanna - I remember people calling them Christmas boxes when I was a kid.

Petite - I envy you the rays - it's cold and grey here in NJ.

Crystalgb - uggh on the cleaning. What's your post-cleaning treat?

Anna Sugden said...

Jo - ooh the artichoke dip sounds yummy. My stuffed mushys are so easy:

1. remove mushroom stalks and chop into little pieces
2. chop a couple of spring onions/scallions into little pieces
3. melt butter in saucepan and soften onion and mushroom stalks.
4. Add cream cheese, pepper and Season-All. Cook until smooth and creamy.
5. Then stuff muchrooms! Bake in oven for 10 mins.

Anna Sugden said...

LOL MsHellion - you do have it bad ... can I recommend hockey? Hunky players, great action ... did I mention hunky players?

Suz - how lovely that you got Julie G's latest and you didn't even have to shop for it! My kind of pressie!

AC - great advice. I'd add a word of caution on the great food - if you're in Rome it can be variable. Outside Rome it's fab though. And the Italians are indeed wonderful people. My travel tip is if you need meds - take double and keep them in your hand luggage. Just in case. (So speaks the well-travelled migraine sufferer!)

Hope your mum has a wonderful time in Italy, Gillian.

Anna Sugden said...

Much happiness - both sports teams won!
*happy wiggle*

Aunty Cindy said...

HURRAY on your teams winning, VA! :-)

And excellent advice about the meds. I always take extra when I travel too. And ALWAYS have them in your purse or carry on!

wishing I were with the GR at Helen's place. It is clear here but teeth-chattering cold! UGH!

Amy Andrews said...

In sports mad Oz we have 2 major boxing day sports events. The Boxing Day test match - cricket. This year, as Helen pointed out, we're playing India.
Then we have the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.
I personally couldn't care less if all sport fell off the face of the earth, so naturally, I haven't been watching ;-)
We went to my brother's house yesterday for Boxing Day and met up with lots of family and ate atlantic king crab, mud crabs, prawns and Moreton Bay bugs. Lots of champers and good cheer.
A great day. Despite the cricket being on in the background.

Gillian Layne said...

Hugs to Aunt Cindy!!

I'll forward the advice to my mom. I did ask her what jewelry she was taking, and she just gave me a blank look and said, "Taking? No, dear, I'm buying it all there!"

Gillian Layne said...

Anna--those mushrooms sound yummy! Thanks for the heads-up on the medicine advice; she's a diabetic and so will of course need to keep her supply close to her. Good to remember!

Kate Carlisle said...

Thanks for the Boxing Day lesson, Anna! And congrats on your winning teams!

Congrats to Helen on snatching our feathered darling, too! It's nice to see he's staying warm! :-)

I'm one of the worker bees today, toiling away at the office. Believe me, I would so much rather be home, tucked under a blanket on my couch, reading one of my new books. And I can't wait to pick up the new Julie Garwood historical! Hallelujah!!

Happy Boxing Day to all!!

Nathalie said...

I am trying to relax on this Boxing Day where people go crazy when bargain hunting!!

I am at home with a great book and a lot of left-overs! Thanks for the recipe!

Anna Sugden said...

It's cold here too, AC ... and now it's started to rain ... uggh. Good job we have warming Boxing Day soup *grin* {Yes - I did actually make it!]

Gillian - make sure your mum brings her jewellery back in her hand luggage too! Oh and she should probably take a copy of her prescription with her, as she's diabetic, to be on the safe side.

Oh no, Kate. Not you too! You'll all have to come to England next year!

Yay Nathalie - that's the way to do it. So, what are you reading?

doglady said...

Made it home alive from work and am now settled in with a cup of Earl Gray and best of all a LARGE Cadbury's Fruit and Nut bar courtesy of a wonderful, sweet, talented, generous, thoughtful Bandita who shall remain nameless! I swear I will have hero in one of my future novels named the Earl of Cadbury!

jo robertson said...

Anna, thanks for the mushroom recipe. Sounds simple and wonderful. I'll try it

catslady said...

My daughter and her fiance were visiting from out of town for the last 3 days and just left earlier today so the house is a mess and we're all tired but it was a wonderful visit and I miss them already. And no shopping for me - I hate the crowds lol.

Annie West said...

Hi Anna,

Just popping in quickly to say happy Boxing Day to you too. We're relaxing after too much food, lots of family get togethers and not enough sleep. The great news is that I've been sneaking time to read - yay!

Happy New Year everyone!


Tawny said...

I'm not a sports gal, so I spent the day playing with toys :) Hey, isn't that the main reason to have kids? So we can relive our childhood through their toys? In between playing I cleaned, sorted and tried to find missing parts to various gifts that were strewn all over. Not a very exciting day, but it was restful :)
Happy Boxing Day, Anna and all!

Amy S. said...

I'm reading Raeder's Woman By Angelina Evans. I just finished Private Party by Jami Alden. It was really good.

Anna Sugden said...

Doglady - once we get home, I'll be happy to supply you with Cadbury's! It's my fave chocolate too ... although I admit a weakness for Aero mint bubbles. (as do Cassondra and Donna).

Catslady - hope the rest of your day was peaceful.

Yay Annie on resting and reading ... it should be a Boxing Day requirement!

Tawny - hey playing with toys works for me!

Amy - they sound interesting ... let us know what you think of them!