Aiken residents, groups uphold day-after-Christmas traditions
Plenty of people have traditions they uphold on Christmas Day, like what dishes they prepare or what movies they watch, and plenty of people have traditions they uphold on the day after Christmas, too.
The Why Worry Hounds set off early this morning for their annual day-after-Christmas hunt.
“We hunt formally, in our scarlet coacts and everything. In England, it’s an annual event that’s been going on for hundreds of years,” said George Thomas, master of fox hounds.
Boxing Day, most commonly observed in the British Commonwealth, is Dec. 26. Its origins are unclear, but a popular story is the holiday grew from the traditional day on which the aristocracy gave presents (boxes) to servants and employees. Another story of its origin is that it was the day when the alms box, collection boxes for the poor often kept in churches, were traditionally opened so that the contents could be distributed to those in need.
Boxing Day is a popular day for fox hunts.
“(The hunt is) a great tradition. We have a nice hunt breakfast afterward. Everybody chips in; it’s a potluck. It’s always good food,” Thomas said.
The day after Christmas is also known as St. Stephen’s Day or the Feast of St. Stephen. Stephen is venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church.
In the early church at Jerusalem, Stephen was appointed to serve as deacon. However, after a dispute, he was denounced for blasphemy and stoned to death.
“It was a deal when I was in grammar school at St. Mary’s,” said Stephen Hale, who co-owns a public relations firm in Aiken. “My whole life, since I was 10, I’ve tried to convince my poor siblings to give me an extra present on St. Stephen’s Day. The only thing I’ve gotten is a lump of coal.”
Allison Bennett of Aiken can always be found in the Pelion area on the day after Christmas with her mom and friends.
Bennett’s mom and her mom’s friends call themselves the “Magnolias.”
“They became friends because I was friends with their daughters in high school. We all come together and eat and talk because we haven’t seen each other in a year. We just really hang out,” Bennett said.
Everyone brings a potluck dish of Christmas dinner leftovers and a small gift to exchange.
“We’ve been doing this for about 10 years. It’s so nice to be able to catch up with everyone. It’s kind of a stress relief. I feel like I miss something when I don’t get to go.”
The American Red Cross certainly wouldn’t mind if people made donating blood a day-after-Christmas tradition.
There is a blood drive today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Aiken Mall, 2441 Whiskey Road.
The need for blood remains constant during the holiday season, but busier schedules, holiday travel and other seasonal activities can leave little time to donate.
All presenting donors will receive a free Red Cross long sleeve T-shirt and will be entered for a chance to win a $1,000 gift card through the Red Cross “Give Something That Means Something” promotion.
“Only when volunteer donors make time to help save a life can we be sure that blood is available for those in need,” said Ryan Corcoran, chief executive officer of the Red Cross South Carolina Blood Services Region. “Giving blood to help others is a wonderful way to give something meaningful this holiday season. Please add making a blood donation to your holiday to-do list.”