Monday, December 26, 2005

December 26 - Boxing Day

If you're not from a Commonwealth Country - Canada, the UK, Australia or New Zealand, you probably won't have a clue what Boxing Day (also known in some parts of the world as St. Stephen's Day) is. There's some controversy as to the origins of Boxing Day but there are a few things it is not:

- it's NOT the day to get rid of all the old boxes in your house
- it's NOT the day to take back your unwanted gifts to the store
- it's NOT a day for your drunken relatives to have at it

Snopes and Wikipedia give us the real story behind Boxing Day.

Today is also zweiter Weihnachtstag (the second day of Christmas) in Germany, a public holiday, so everything is locked up tight.

Our Christmas Day was like all the other Christmas Days for the past 15 years, except that we had it at our house this time, as I mentioned. The turkey turned out very well, but it was such a mangey looking creature that I couldn't possibly post a picture. My in-laws are not adventurous eaters at all, so I had to keep the menu pretty simple - turkey (no stuffing), red cabbage, green beans and potato croquettes with a tiramisu cake and a raspberry and mandarin orange trifle for dessert. Father-in-law behaved as well as can be expected and we were all happy that he didn't show up already drunk, even though he did manage to polish off his customary four beers and four schnapps during the meal. Oh well.

In the afternoon I talked to my youngest brother at length on the phone and found out that my parents are not doing all that well, especially my dad, who is experiencing double vision in one eye and personality changes (according to my brother - I'm not entirely sure if this is true) and will have to have his arm broken again because it's not healing properly. Ugh. Kind of puts a damper on things and I haven't been in the best mood since hearing that news.

And while things are going all pear-shaped anyway, let's just throw another monkey wrench into the works why don't we. Most of you know we have already booked our trip to Vancouver next July/August. Well last week Mr. M learned that his assistant has found a new job and will be leaving within the next three months. After the employee has left, German labour laws (or company policy, I'm not sure which) require Mr. M to keep the position open for another three months, as in he's not allowed to hire someone else in case the other guy wants to come back. I don't understand these things but that sounds pretty weird to me. So by the time the guy leaves and the no-hire period is over, we should be smack in the middle of vacation time. That means that instead of being on the beach in Vancouver, Mr. M may have to stay here and hire and train a new employee. He's had his vacation time authorized already, but this new problem could veto that and take priority. I'm trying to be hopeful about the whole thing, but I have no idea how it's going to turn out.

Ho hum. So much for Christmas spirit!


At December 27, 2005 12:19 a.m., Blogger Betty said...

First, I really really thought Boxing Day was the day to return unwanted presents to the store. I'm not pointing any fingers but I don't know that many Canadians and someone has led me to believe this. Second and third, I'm really sorry to hear your worries about your sweet parents and the vacations bugaboo. This will work out though. I'm sure!

At December 27, 2005 12:26 a.m., Blogger christina said...

Betty - that's what I used to think too until I learned otherwise. I think my mum even told us that! Especially since Boxing Day is a major shopping day in Canada.

I'm sure everything will work out too in time. Just hard to be patient. I think I may be a closet control freak. :-)

At December 27, 2005 7:07 a.m., Blogger Calamity Tat said...

Poo Huh! can't be right about the job and waiting and missing a holiday! Sorry about your father it must be a worrying time for you. We celebrate boxing day but no one here does, the postman came yesterday! That's unheard of in the UK although it is also a major shopping day there, not here though. No day is a major shopping day here...

At December 27, 2005 9:01 a.m., Blogger Karen said...

I am always greatful for the "zweiter Weihnachtsfeiertag" - it's the "breather" day for me!

Sorry about your vacation worries - that is definitely a company policy, not a labor law (just imagine the chaos if it were).

At December 27, 2005 11:41 a.m., Blogger Elemmaciltur said...

Hehehe, yeah, I used to get people asking me what Boxing Day actually is.

Sorry to hear about the vacation. I hope that it won't get messed up!

At December 27, 2005 2:13 p.m., Anonymous JCS said...

The non-hire period sounds like company policy to my ears. The sooner someone fills that position, the sooner the state does not have to dole out unemployment benefits for somebody.

Re beer and schnaps: That's one of the sad things here in my home country. Many German men in normal jobs with a normal family regard it as totally normal to consume large quantities of alcohol. After returning from work, they eat, watch TV and go to bed. During that period four beers or a entire litre of wine is consumed. Most of them will never consider the effects on their health since they can drink this much without becoming drunk. And when angina pectoris or liver cirrhosis rear their ugly heads it's often too late.
These things are changing slowly in Germany, same with non-smoking sections.

Guten Rutsch,

At December 27, 2005 2:30 p.m., Blogger Antipodeesse said...

Oh dear... at least your Christmas tree photo turned out beautifully!

At December 27, 2005 2:54 p.m., Blogger christina said...

Tat - yes, it doesn't sound right to me either, but we'll see. Boxing Day was always the day we went around visiting friends and delivering the last of the presents.

Karen - You're right, it must be company policy because now that I've thought about it, it couldn't be that way everywhere, couldn't it, or Germany would be in big trouble. :-)

Elemm - I'm hopeing things will work out!

JCS - Yes, the amount of alcohol comsumed here is very disturbing to me. the f-i-l is 76 and has had this 'little problem' for many, many years. He also has/had myriad health issues (cancer, diabetes, circulation etc) which I see as being directly related to the alcohol abuse, but I guess you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Thank god my husband hasn't followed in his dad's footsteps.

Guten Rutsch to you too! :-)

Antipo - Thanks! Looking at the picture gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling so I guess I'll be looking at it a lot in the next week.

At December 27, 2005 4:50 p.m., Blogger Schatzi said...

Oh Dear, I'm so sorry to hear about your father. I hope this is all temporary and part of the healing process (?)..hmm perhaps if Mr M goes to his boss and reminds him/her that he has already scheduled a vacay during this position fulfillment time some arrangement can be made?
Your tree is loverly!!!

At December 27, 2005 6:35 p.m., Blogger James said...

I hope the best for your father...My partner's father had a mild heart attack on the German Christmas Day, 12/24 and is in the hospital. It seems like the holidays are good and bad all the same time...You know what I mean? By the way, the tree is very nice.

At December 27, 2005 7:06 p.m., Blogger euro-trac said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your father. Let's hope everything works out well real soon!
That's a very odd company policy!?

At December 27, 2005 11:22 p.m., Blogger The SeaWitch said...

What if Mr. M quit too and then came back 3 months later? This makes sense to me in my head. (Moving to Greece also made sense in my head too so take my advice with a pound of salt. LOL)

Anyway, it's still a long way off so things just might work out well in the end anyway.

What have the doctors said about your father's injuries? Do they think he'll be able to make a full recovery? I certainly hope so. It seems you need some good news at the moment. I wish you all the best Christina. :-)

At December 28, 2005 12:21 a.m., Blogger melusina said...

What a bummer about the whole vacation thing! That is a pretty damn generous policy, if you ask me. Some businesses couldn't stay afloat that long without hiring a new employee.

Sorry to hear your parents aren't doing well. It is especially bad during holidays when you are thousands of miles away.

I never had any opinions about Boxing Day, except annoyance that it wasn't a day off in America. It is always a day off here in Greece, though!

At December 28, 2005 3:52 p.m., Blogger Cathy said...

So sorry to hear about your dad.
These things are so difficult.
Take it easy and relax if you can.
Sending good thoughts to you today,

At December 28, 2005 10:18 p.m., Anonymous J.Doe said...

I'm sorry to hear about your family. I hope it is just temporary and all works out.

At December 28, 2005 11:27 p.m., Blogger Dixie said...

What a completely screwy policy that company has! I never heard of getting to leave and being able to come back if you don't like the other job. I hope it's not going to end up fouling up your vacation time.

Hate that your folks aren't doing so well. I'll send some good wishes that they improve.

Poo on your FIL.

Your tree is gorgeous.

At December 29, 2005 4:44 a.m., Blogger Crystal said...

What a strange policy and I would be none too thrilled if my approved vacation got kicked to the side all for the convenience of a quitting employee. Europe has really stringent labour laws and it must be incredibly hard for corporations to operate there.

At December 29, 2005 12:27 p.m., Blogger hippo_pepperpot said...

I do like living here in England. I love everything about Christmas here... Panto, Mummers, Crackers......Boxing Day... lol.

Keep us updated on your dad. It sounds horrible for him. I hope your mum is coping with all of this.


At December 29, 2005 1:14 p.m., Anonymous rebecca said...

It's hard being far from the family at times like these. Lots of strength to you.

At December 31, 2005 11:53 p.m., Blogger Sparky said...

HI Mausi,

Just know Jen and I love you and wish you and your family all the best. I'm sure things will turn out fine in the end... both for your Dad and your hubby.

- sparky


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