Question for our American friends about Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by PatrickM, Nov 9, 2001.

  1. PatrickM

    PatrickM Screenwriter

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    Maybe its just me but from what I've experienced over the years, it appears that there is more of an emphasis in the US of A on Thanksgiving than on Christmas in terms of trying to be at home for the holiday or even the amount of time off one takes during these two holidays.
    From what I've seen people take the Thursday (Thanksgiving) and the Friday off quite regularly. But, for Christmas only the 25th is really taken off and the 26th(boxing day here in Canada) isn't traditionally a day off.
    Is this really the case and if so why? Or is my perception way off?
    Patrick
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  2. Kevin Eckhardt

    Kevin Eckhardt Stunt Coordinator

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    I think this is primarily a logistical issue. Thanksgiving is always on the 4th Thursday of November so it makes sense to have Friday off as well. Christmas occurs on a different day of the week each year so things aren't always as predictable. If we had another holday the day after Christmas I'm sure we'd take that off too.
    Where I work we have one or two 'floating' holiday days. Typically one of these gets used at Christmas to give us a second day off. This year, for instance, since Christmas is on a Tuesday we also have Christmas Eve off to make it a 4 day weekend. I, and most of the rest of my team, also use some vacation time at Christmas.
    As far as giving one Holiday precedence for trying to get everyone together, in my family it has always been Christmas.
    Also, I'm curious as to the origin of Boxing Day. My Canadian history is a bit rusty [​IMG]
    Kevin
     
  3. PatrickM

    PatrickM Screenwriter

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    Well, Boxing Day is actually a British holiday that places like Canada, the UK, New Zealand, etc. celebrate. It is the day after Christmas and I believe it has to do with the old British tradition of giving the less fortunate gifts the day after Christmas. You give gifts to your family and the upper classes before or on Christmas. Its the old class system rearing its ugly head back in the old days.
    Why its called Boxing day is a good question that I don't know the answer to.
    Patrick
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  4. Ben Motley

    Ben Motley Supporting Actor

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    I've always heard that Boxing Day was for the servants and other service oriented people (carriage drivers, market folk, cooks, hookers). They had to cater to the households on Christmas, and got their own day for celebration afterwards - Boxing Day.
    (just kidding about the hookers of course... they never got a day off [​IMG] )
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  5. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    I was also curious about Boxing Day. I always just figured it was when all you guys got together and watched a boxing match. [​IMG] I really had no idea.
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  6. andrew markworthy

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    Boxing Day was the day when employees, on their return to work, were traditionally given presents, which were often boxes of foodstuffs, etc. - hence the name. It's true that similar boxes would be given out to the poor at this time of year, but such distribution of largesse was generally done before or on Christmas Day, rather than Dec 26th. However, popular tradition has attributed this to be the origin of 'Boxing Day'.
    It's perhaps worth observing that Christmas as an extended holiday in Britain is relatively recent (i.e. post - 1970s). Today, a large number of businesses (other than retail) close on Christmas Eve and don't re-open until January 2nd, with only at best a skeleton staff going in during 'Christmas Week'.
    In contrast, in parts of Scotland with a strong puritan tradition, Christmas Day was a day of work until pretty recently. The really big social event in Scotland was (and indeed still tends to be) New Year's Eve.
    [Edited last by andrew markworthy on November 10, 2001 at 04:22 AM]
     
  7. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    The real reason it's called Boxing Day is because by that time, you're so sick of your house been invaded by maurauding relatives that you're ready start taking a few jabs.
     
  8. Jude Faelnar

    Jude Faelnar Stunt Coordinator

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    From the Straight Dope website: http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mboxingday.html
     
  9. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    I always thought it was the day when yoou sood in line for the great deals, then fights broke out and if you were good you could gain some postions in line [​IMG]
    Brent L
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  10. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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  11. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    And am I right to think that "Auld Lang Syne" must originate from the Scottish language? I always really wondered, but believed this (also because of ".. old acquaintance be forgot" - instead of "... forgotten").
    How is that, precisely?
    Cees
    [Edited last by Cees Alons on November 11, 2001 at 06:34 AM]
     
  12. andrew markworthy

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    The phrase 'auld lang syne' means 'long ago' ['syne' should be pronouced with an 's', not a 'z', incidentally]; with the connotation of 'for old time's sake'. The phrase comes from Scottish *dialect* rather than a language distinct from English [though there is a distinct language spoken in Scotland, called Scottish Gaelic, these days largely confined to the northernmost regions of Scotland].
    People often attribute the words of the song to Robert Burns (Scotland's most famous poet), but in fact, the chorus was traditional even in Burns's day:
    For auld lang syne, my dear
    For auld lang syne,
    We'll drink a cup o' kindness yet
    For auld lang syne.
    What Burns added were the verses ('Should auld acquaintance be forgot' etc) which are in use today. Burns did write entire poems in Scottish dialect ('wee cowrin' timourin' beastie' etc) but in Auld Lang Syne, the use of dialect is restricted to the title phrase.
    Incidentally, the 'ungrammatical' use of 'forgot' would in fact have been acceptable at the time Burns was writing (1788).
     
  13. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer
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    --- But, for Christmas only the 25th is really taken off and the 26th(boxing day here in Canada) isn't traditionally a day off.----
    Boxing day, in Canada, is only nominally a day off. The outfit I work for expects us to work every stat. including boxing day and New Years day. We used to get those off but no longer do. The morons, in recent years, have actually expected us to work Christmas Day as well. You can pretty well guess that that particularly stupid idea was a disaster and has been dropped.....at least for now.
     
  14. Dennis Reno

    Dennis Reno Supporting Actor

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    You have to love our British brethren. Only the Brits could come up with a snappy name for a holiday that is actually an excuse for re-gifting! [​IMG]
    I wish America would follow the tradition. I would rather have the 26th off than Christmas Eve. Gives you a day to recover. Hmm, it would be a good excuse to watch (more) football as well...
    [Edited last by Dennis Reno on November 11, 2001 at 04:38 PM]
     
  15. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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    To answer the orignial question, Christmas is much, much, much more of a big holiday than Thanksgiving. Christmas you start getting ready for sometimes even at the start of November. Thanksgiving you get ready before...well, before the family shows up.
    Schools are let out for sometimes close to 2 weeks, and if you aren't in a serving business, you will also maybe get a week off.
    [Edited last by Ike on November 11, 2001 at 05:04 PM]
     
  16. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Thanks Andrew! Very instructive and interesting!
    Cees
     

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