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Happy Sales and Returns Day


Time again for my annual rant about a Christmas carol …

While December 26th is celebrated by a lot of people in the US in shopping malls returning gifts or taking advantage of inventory clearance sales, there are other celebrations.

It is the first day of the Kwanzaa celebration, which is explained at the link.

It is Boxing Day, a celebration of noblisse oblige when the upper classes bestow gifts on the lower and the contents of the poor boxes are distributed. Under the feudal system this was part of the “contract,” the mutual system of obligations that tied the system together.

As the feast of St. Stephen it honors the first Christian martyr, but Ireland’s Saint Stephen’s Day celebration is a bit different and is the reason for the wren on this post.

However, this post is really my complaint about “Good King Whatshisface.”

I have always found Good King Wenceslas really annoying. It made the Australian Broadcasting’s Ten Worst Christmas Songs list Last year.

This is a real guy, although he was the Duke of Bohemia, and not a king, he was a real member of the 10th century aristocracy, and he is the patron saint of the Czech Republic. He is revered as a kind man for the way he treated children and slaves. Apparently owning slaves is fine as long as you don’t kill too many.

His mother had his grandmother, her mother-in-law, strangled, and he forced his mother out at sword point. He sounds more like he was ready for Dr. Phil, than canonization.

So then we get to the song. The song says that on Saint Stephen’s Day, the day after Christmas, he sees one of his peasants out scrounging up fallen limbs to heat his humble hovel, and Wenceslas carries food and a few logs to the peasant’s abode to brighten up the holiday.

At the time commoners weren’t allowed to cut trees for firewood nor hunt, as those were the rights of the aristocracy. They were allowed to pick up dead limbs in the forest to heat their homes. They would have a fire in their shacks and a smoke hole in the roof, not a fireplace, so the logs weren’t going to be useful unless they were split.

On the day after Christmas there were sure to be a lot of leftovers that would go to the kennels, so the “Good King” Wenceslas was carting dog food to a peasant, who was expected to be overcome with gratitude at the beneficence of his Duke.

There is a happy ending: Wenceslas was murdered by his brother’s goons after five years of oppressing the peasants.

The Church felt kindly towards Wenceslas because his mother was rather repressive towards the Church, while he wasn’t, so he became a martyr.

Wenceslas reminds me of all of the people who make a donation so poor people can have a good Christmas dinner, without a thought about what they have to eat the rest of the year.


1 Kryten42 { 12.26.17 at 3:30 am }

“Wenceslas reminds me of all of the people who make a donation so poor people can have a good Christmas dinner, without a thought about what they have to eat the rest of the year.”

Exactly my sentiment! And I made sure to bring that up to the powers that be that deign’d to attend the Neighborhood House Xmas day festivities, ensuring dozens of voters were within earshot. the usual politicians smelling a good photo op (which they were denied inside as only the poor and needy were allowed in to be fed etc.) Was one of my conditions for spending 3 day’s rescuing the House from certain disaster!

Apart from that, it was a good day. We gave out gift packs including a lot of good leftover food that would last over a week if they had a fridge, longer if they had a freezer Up to a week if not. Also non-perishables, tinned foods (and a decent tin opener), UHT milk (in 8x 250ml cartons) etc. Also gift vouchers for supermarkets and even some cash. And toys/games for the kids as well. I wish I could have done more. Hopefully our local Poli’s will take the hint (their numbers are not looking good for next election in ’18 so there’s some hope).


I spent Boxing Day picking up some great bargans. Most stores Xmas sales tanked, so many good deals were to be had! My fridge/freezer it chock full & the pantry too. SO I won’t need to worry about spending money on food (with the obvious exceptions of bread, I stocked up on long-life UHT milk @ 50% off which will last me a couple Months @ least).

2 Bryan { 12.26.17 at 5:14 pm }

We get the same political crap here with the Speaker of the House caught staging a photo op in a soup kitchen by acting like he was washing dishes that had already been washed.

You should never pass up a good deal if you can afford it. A big problem is that most poor people can’t afford appliances or other devices that are cheap to run. They only have enough money for crap.

You made it happen. Where were pols when the work needed doing or money would help?