A Traditional Family Boxing Day

Every year during the holiday period, I have my own ritual. Some people choose to observe religious traditions, some like to go caroling, some are even known to roast chestnuts by an open fire. Me, I like to attempt to make it through the season without hearing The Little Drummer Boy all the way through.

The Little Drummer Boy, I don’t have to tell you, is the single worst holiday song in the history of holiday songs. Despite its Christian connotations and celebration of the Lord contained therein, God himself has reserved a special place in hell for the composer and lyricist.

It’s flatly impossible to go the distance without hearing it at all, so my goal is always to survive December without getting trapped listening to one complete rendition of it, start to finish. This usually involves fleeing stores — sometimes in mid-purchase — to spare my ears the torture. And I’ve never succeeded. Not once in all the years I’ve attempted it.

This year I was nailed in the exchange line at Future Shop, with a French version that was remixed with Ravel’s routinely sexualized classical composition, Bolero.

I wish I were joking, but it happened exactly like that. Apparently there are teams of scientists out there trying to engineer a cover of The Little Drummer Boy that sucks even harder than all previous renditions combined. Call it the A-Bomb of the war on terror. Those insurgents will flee their spider holes in droves, straight into our boys’ machine gun nests, once the Air Cavalry comes flying over the desert blasting it from their skid-mounted speakers.

As any good Canuck will tell you, the real fun of the Christmas holidays comes the day after the presents are all opened, just around the time the eggnog hangover is kicking in. Because that’s when the Boxing Day festivities get underway, with the lineups queuing in front of stores shortly before dawn, and the early hypothermia casualties being chipped out of the ice by ambulance technicians come first light.

Boxing Day, for those of you unfortunate enough to find yourself outside our borders, is an annual tradition during which Canadians sardine themselves into the nearest available shopping mall and exchange airborne viruses while they try to save two dollars on items they could just as well purchase on any other day of the year. The sales are legendary, even if the markdown is all hype.

With the NHL hockey season cancelled, this year’s Boxing Day provided Canadians across the nation with a much needed outlet, delivering body checks, elbows and high stickings to competing consumers who wouldn’t keep their damn hands off that last 20%-off toaster oven. I myself nearly got mixed up in a serious stabbing incident, albeit one that took place entirely in my head with me on the business end of a ball-point pen. Boxing Day probably isn’t such a good idea for people with as much suppressed rage as I have. All that anger, normally turned safely inward where it festers and promotes heart disease and tumor growth, comes dangerously close to externalizing and manifesting itself as a ten to twenty year stretch in the Provincial Pen.

Not quite what I was asking for for Christmas.

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