In Australia, the day after Christmas is called Boxing Day. Contrary to popular belief (and behavior), the origin of the Boxing Day name does NOT refer to the first shopping day after Christmas, when frenzied mothers engage other frenzed mothers in fist fights and “boxing” matches in local shopping malls over post-Christmas bargains. That is called mud wrestling.
Boxing Day (I learned from my good friend Chris Attwood) is actually an English tradition that migrated to Australia with the convicts (and stuck around, like the convicts). It is a public holiday not only in Australia, but New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Greenland, Hong Kong, Macau, and countries in the Commonwealth of Nations. The origins of the holiday date back to Victorian England, when the aristocracy handed out boxed food parcels and gifts on the day after Christmas to servants and tradesmen in return for services rendered throughout the year — the original “boxed lunch,” I guess you could say. Modern exclusions include said frenzied mothers who, contrary to popular belief (and behavior), do NOT get much of a holiday since they single-handedly make Christmas happen for everyone else.
This year, I “opened” my Christmas present on Boxing Day. In our family here in Adelaide, the adults draw names out of a hat for the gift exchange. There is a spending limit on the gift and we get to make special requests. I requested a Westfield Gift Card. I also added that I had never received a present baked inside a cake. Don’t ask me why I said that, because I have no idea. It simply popped out. It seemed zany and crazy at the time and I said it for a laugh, adding that I did not want any green icing. Don’t ask me why I said that, either. Green icing tastes just like every other color. And I never expected to be taken
But I forgot who Craig was married to.
Craig’s wife, Kari, is a master prankster and decided I would get my gift as requested. Thus, my Westfield Gift Card arrived deep inside a sponge cake with wonderfully gooey chocolate icing.
Being that we were at a family barbecue and had already eaten dessert (don’t forget, Christmas comes in summer here in Australia), I decided to “open” my gift on Boxing Day morning, where I could sneak a taste of Kari’s delicious cake for breakfast. As you can see in the accompanying photo, it was a beautiful cake. But it also contained valuable treasure, so I had to cut it very carefully. As you can see in the next accompanying photo, I was able to do that successfully, which allowed me to then extract my treasure. The final photo shows me getting caught with the evidence. There was no way I could plead innocent to the family misdemeanor of having unwrapped my present early (we always open presents together). I thought I was sneaky, but Wendy and her camera were sneakier.
I learned a lesson this past Boxing Day: crime does not pay. I always get caught. However, being a Cool Dude Writer, I continue to write about it as if I were a seasoned pro.
Originally from Kansas, James Houston Turner writes thrillers from his home in Adelaide, South Australia, where he tries unsuccessfully to out-sneak his wife. You may visit him at www.jameshoustonturner.com