WHAT DAY IS IT?

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

             The Sparrow “kids”

If your holidays were anything like ours, you might be waking up this morning asking yourself what day it is.  Too much partying, frivolity and eggnog can do that to you.  For the first time in nine years, we Sparrow “kids” and our families gathered together on Christmas Eve.  Because I’m using the term “kids” loosely, it becomes more meaningful each time we are together, especially over the holidays.  There were 20 of us and we had such a good time we’ve decided to plan a summer reunion.  But before we get to next year, there is still a lot of celebrating we can all enjoy this week. To assist you in knowing exactly what to celebrate and when, I’m providing you with a handy guide to help you push through this final week of the year.

December 26th is known for two celebrations, The Feast of St. Stephen or Boxing Day, depending on where you live.  For Catholics worldwide, today is St. Stephen’s Day, or The Feast of St Stephen.  St. Stephen was born a Greek Jew but converted to Christianity and became a disciple of Jesus. That was not a popular move. He was accused of blasphemy and stood trial in a Jewish court, despite his arguing that Christianity supported the teachings of Moses. The crowd was so furious after his testimony that he was carried out and stoned to death. Thus, he became the first Christian martyr, and his life is honored each year on December 26.  Boxing Day has been celebrated since the 1870’s in Britain and the Commonwealth countries.  Today it is akin to Black Friday, where people swarm the stores looking for bargains or return the horrid sweater they got from their mother-in-law.  Ironically, Boxing Day was not always about oneself.  In fact, it used to be quite the opposite.  There are two theories on how Boxing Day originated.  One is that on Christmas Day, people would go to church and place money in a box.  The following day, the money would be dispensed to those in need.  The second theory is that since servants had to work on Christmas Day, their employers would give them a day off on December 26th, along with a box of money or food.  Imagine the disappointment if you were expecting cash and instead received a fruitcake.  Which brings me to…

December 27th is National Fruitcake Day. It’s not a day about a person, although I’m sure we could all identify a few who would qualify.  It’s actually a day to celebrate that holiday concoction that nobody likes or wants.  The people of Manitou Springs, Colorado, have a use for the brick-like desserts: throw them at something.  Each year they host The Great Fruitcake Toss.  There are contests to see who can hurl fruitcakes the farthest or who is most accurate throwing them into baskets.  I think the citizens of Manitou Springs have a good sense of humor.  I’m going to have to visit them on my next trip to Colorado.

December 28th is Holy Innocents Day, which marks the anniversary of the day King Herod killed all of the male citizens of Bethlehem when he realized Jesus had escaped.  Today it is celebrated as a day to pray for the safety, health, and well-being of children.  Seems like a good thing to do over the holidays. Or every day.

December 29th is International Cello Day.  No, not Jell-O – cello.  Who in the heck even knows a cello player?  I think the people at Hallmark, or whomever thinks up these days to celebrate, might have run out of steam by the end of the year.

December 30th is National Bacon Day. Now here’s a day I can get behind.  Bacon is seemingly everywhere, including the Bloody Mary at our local breakfast haunt.  I think I’m going to celebrate accordingly on Friday.  I wouldn’t want the people at the bacon holiday headquarters to think I’m ignoring them.

December 31st is obviously New Year’s Eve, a day for making resolutions, partying with friends or this year, perhaps sitting home with the dog, watching football and celebrating the new year on New York time.  The excitement never ends.

Finally, January 1st is the start of a new year.  Hope always spring eternal with a new year. Despite experience to the contrary, I am always upbeat and looking forward to whatever the new year will bring. Hopefully more bacon and less fruitcake.

My brother and I wish you and yours a very happy 2023 and once again, we want to thank you for subscribing to our blog.  It is truly appreciated.

We’re All Singing the Betwixmas Blues

by Bob Sparrow

Yes, Betwixmas is a word . . . sort of – it’s the term used for the six days between Christmas and New Year’s Day – and we are now in it up to our masks.    There are names for two of these six days that bookend Betwixmas; at the beginning, December 26 is ‘Boxing Day’, which is not celebrated in America, but mostly in England and its former Commonwealth satellites (Canada/Australia/New Zealand/Hong Kong).  It started out as a day to honor servants and those less fortunate by giving them a ‘box’ of something of value.  It then morphed into a shopping holiday (apparently, they said, ‘screw the servants’) where one would take back the ‘boxes’ of whatever they got for Christmas and exchange them for a box of something they really wanted (Maybe we do celebrate it here in America after all).  At the other end of Betwixmas is, of course, New Year’s Eve; never before will so many people really mean it when they say “Happy New Year”!!! But those four days in between, particularly this year, will drive you crazy enough to actually try to eat your grandma’s brick-hard fruitcake that you got again this Christmas.

Betweixmas is a time when we really don’t know what day it is,  who you are or what you’re really supposed to be doing.  There is no school and no one is really working.  If someone goes into the office during Betwixmas, it’s not to work, it’s just to get away from the spouse and/or kids, that have been driving them crazy since the Covid outbreak.

Paradoxically, the shortest day of the year was just last Monday, so the days should seem to just fly by, but no, these days drag on and makes Betwixmas seem interminable.  Typically, it’s the time to relax after the Christmas ‘rush’ and get ready to usher in a new year, a different year, anything but what we’ve been experiencing, so this Betwixmas drags on even more than normal.

Snow Angel

The result of these shiftless days are things like creating New Year’s resolutions that are unrealistic and completely unattainable.  To wit:  you’re probably going to be a little heavier by this time next year.  That home gym that you built this year will go mostly unused next year.  You’re not going to be a better person next year, you’re going to be about the same, and you’re going to be no more organized next year than you are this year.

Usually, the novelty of the kids being home during Christmas vacation calls for some family activity – heading to the mountains to frolic in the snow, visiting Disneyland or if you’re a fan, going to a college football bowl game.  But there’s no snow in the local mountains, Disneyland is closed and the general public is not allowed to attend a college football game.  We are doomed to spend Betwixmas just like we’ve spent the last nine months – in house arrest.

So, one would think that this would have been a good time for a blog that’s really entertaining; a missive filled with little-known facts of interest that would take your mind off the tedium of the times.  But no, it’s a match for the times.

Merappy Betwixmas