Today is “Boxing Day” in Great Britain and the Commonwealth countries. There are several explanations for the origin of â€œBoxing Day,â€ but the one I like is that it is the day that the lords of the manors pack up food and goodies for their staff to take home after the holiday festivities have peaked. Mind you, a little more research into the holiday delves into the uncomfortable side of lord/serf arrangement not unlike the feudal set-up that is still so common in the Philippines in some form or another. While the 13th month bonus that is now mandated by law is perhaps a modern equivalent of this custom of helping those who help us, I generally believe it just isnâ€™t enough to make ends meet. Our crew at home is part of the family in many ways, and we try to take care of them far, far better than my parents generation ever did. You have all been witness to what I put them through in a given yearâ€¦ if you could see our market forays, refrigerator contents, prep work, general kitchen output, baking line-up, set-up for photos, clean-up, dinners, lunches and special events, food-gift cooking and wrapping, preserves, pickles, etc. you would understand why they are so much a part of this website without your ever knowing themâ€¦
While I do love the concept of Boxing day, I donâ€™t like to make it a â€œleftoversâ€ kind of event the day after the holiday. Instead, we throw a staff party a few days before Christmas and invite staff, their families and assorted relatives and make sure they go home with heaving â€œboxesâ€â€¦ This year we had our staff party on December 23rd and we had close to 30 guests. On the dinner buffet was a 20 kilo lechon, cebu style, a couple of large baked lapu-lapu, a whole ham, pancit, a paella a la Marketman, tomato salad with red egg and tuyo and macaroni salad. On the dessert table was a huge fruit basket, homemade cassava cake that I made the night before, homemade budbud kabog and purple suman, butter cake and a chilled fruit salad with broasâ€¦ The crew set up tents in the garden, arranged the tables, lighting, buffets, etc. (they do this like it is second nature now).
After the meal, games and Christmas presents, we prepared our version of the â€œboxes,â€ sending home with each family or guest large portions of lechon, queso de bola, cakes, ham, budbud, etc. to ensure that they also had a wonderful Christmas eve meal the next day. And as we drew the event to a close, we thanked them all for another great year and expressed our gratitudeâ€¦and we handed out our final present for the holidaysâ€¦ an 8×10 inch “silver” frame with a photo of each of our crew by this year’s Christmas tree. I had asked them to pose the day before but they had no idea that I would rush to get the photos enlarged, cropped, developed and framed the next day while all the cooking and preparations for their dinner was going onâ€¦ (Their faces distorted on purpose here for privacy.) Daghang salamat sa tanan!