Wednesday, December 26, 2018

DAY 27: Boxing Day

North Yorkshire Hunt, Boxing Day
Good King Wenceslaus Went Out
On the Feast of Stephen...

The 26th of December is the Feast of St. Stephen, or Boxing Day--which was traditionally when those in domestic service, who had labored throughout Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so that their employers could make merry, were given time off to go home and enjoy the Nativity with their families. They were also given "boxes" of leftover food, trinkets, coins, and other small gifts from their employers to honor a year of good service. In recent decades, the tradition has evolved into a day of Christmas sales shopping and charitable giving.

December 26th is also the date of the traditional Christmas Hunt Meet in Great Britain, when local packs and hunt enthusiasts set out in search of fox scent on the bitter and frozen ground. This year, there were Animal Rights protests that disrupted the hunts, and some incidents of violence. Jennie Churchill would have been amazed at this sea change in British public opinion--she was an avid hunter and would almost certainly have joined the Meets in any locale where she spent the holiday. 

Lacking a cook in the kitchen and staff to serve on Boxing Day, most aristocratic families  ate a cold dinner, or "hunt board." This was a buffet that was usually comprised of leftover Christmas delicacies, offering an informal sequel to the most glittering holiday of the year.

For more images from THAT CHURCHILL WOMAN, visit the  Pinterest board behind the novel. 

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