Today in England they are celebrating Boxing Day. Traditionally, Boxing Day comes the day after Christmas and is intended as a way to show appreciation to those that have rendered services to others throughout the previous year. In olden days, since servants were required to work on Christmas preparing and serving the Christmas meal, the day after was traditionally a day off for them. As they were getting ready to leave so they could spend time with their own families, they would be given a gift - a box - to take with them.
My mother probably never heard of Boxing Day, but she celebrated it in her own way whether she knew it or not. Every year she made sure that the folks that provided us with services and products during the year knew how much she appreciated them. The mailman got a Christmas card with a "little something special" inside even if it were only a couple of dollars. If my Dad was home, he was also invited in for a small nip of something just to "keep the cold off you." The trash man that put our empty garbage cans inside the gate instead of thrown hither and yonder on the sidewalk or in the street also got a card. Manny the Vegetable Man who came around with his wagon of produce, Jimmy the Chicken Man who drove into Queens from Long Island every week to deliver freshly butchered chickens that he raised himself, anyone that brought something to our door got a card, a bottle of spirits or whatever she could do.
In this day of online shopping and lack of face-to-face communication, wouldn't it be nice if we took the idea of Boxing Day and remembered those who serve us in a myriad of ways with a small gesture to show our appreciation? It doesn't have to be an actual gift. Perhaps we can spend a few friendly minutes asking how they are, how their family is, smiling and saying Thank you so much. Say a heartfelt "thank you" to the UPS man, the bank teller, the guy behind the register in the convenience store, the kid that delivers your pizza, the lady that empties your trash and cleans your bathroom at work, etc.
The cup of human kindness flows both ways. Kindness and appreciation isn't just for Boxing Day. It's for every day. Now that's a New Year's Resolution I can keep.
And so it is.