Boxing Day Forum

It's the day for returns, right?

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Happy boxing day to us all, everyone! After a blissful day off, it’s back to the retail slog where everyone brings their sad tale of return woe to a (quietly snickering) Luddite.

  2. Liberal Capitalist says:

    The name comes from a time when the rich used to box up gifts to give to the poor. Boxing Day was traditionally a day off for servants – a day when they received a special Christmas box from their masters. The servants would also go home on Boxing Day to give Christmas boxes to their families.

    How things have changed.

  3. Kathy says:

    Brief note on the subject of gifts, as Heel Week Four kicked off yesterday:

    My problem lies more with receiving gifts rather than giving them. Many times it just shows how little people who think they know me actually know me. I think I mentioned my sister in law who wanted to get me a hardcover of The daVinci Code, because books is books* and this one is trendy.

    Things like that. I could go through a long list of presents that turned me off from wanting to ever get one, but it feels unseemly to do so.

    *One of my favorite strips by Quino has two children talking about what they got their mothers for Mother’s Day. The girls says a book, the boy doesn’t believe her. He expounds, “I know your mom already has a book.”

  4. CSK says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: @Liberal Capitalist:

    When I was a little kid,I thought “Boxing Day” was when people pulled on gloves and shiny shorts and climbed into a ring and started pummeling each other.

  5. CSK says:

    It just wouldn’t be a holiday without a deranged message from The Former Guy, who refers to himself (in the third person) as “the Brilliant, Clairvoyant, and USA LOVING Donald J. Trump.”

  6. Stormy Dragon says:

    I got out of quarantine today, hooray

  7. CSK says:


    No edit. “Marry” should be “merry,” dammit.

  8. Mr. Prosser says:

    @CSK: I thought TFG actually wrote that because of the “Marry”

  9. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: He also puts his own name in quotation marks. That was the part that puzzled me the most. Does he not realize putting a word in quotes is used to imply the person or thing in question is not what it’s claimed to be? (Like the way we talk about Fox “News.”) What in holy hell is he attempting to communicate?

  10. CSK says:

    @Mr. Prosser:
    Good call.

    Beats me. I really don’t think he understands capitalization or punctuation. His approach to capitalization in particular is very 18th-century, though it’s probably a form of self-aggrandizement.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: I could go through a long list of presents that turned me off from wanting to ever get one, but it feels unseemly to do so.

    I must be unseemly because that is exactly the reason I stopped engaging in that practice. My wife and I give money, and I make a small exception of giving each of our children’s families a hand blown glass ornament for their Xmas trees, which is as much about my wanting to support the studio from which I buy them as it is giving our children small works of art.

  12. MarkedMan says:

    This article in Politico talks about the radical changes in our policy towards China, something that does not get much attention from the general public, but is a huge effort that will occupy us for a generation or more and Carrie’s great risks. The article is primarily about trade but the shift affects so much more. I’m with the hawks on this one. In four decades China has shown no willingness to abide by international rules and is increasingly asserting its right to seize territory from others by force. I could go on and on about why I think the doves are wrong but perhaps the best illustration is the Philippines. China has been stealing fishing territory from them for a number of years and is now bringing their navy to the fight. The Philippine doves have cautioned against antagonizing China and managed to get one of their own elected with a promise to negotiate reasonably with China. The Chinese obviously are treating this as a sign of weakness and have become even more aggressive since the election. In general I find that the doves are stuck in the past, arguing for theoretical scenarios whose sell-by date has long expired. They simply do not take into account China’s actual behaviors today.

  13. Kylopod says:


    Beats me. I really don’t think he understands capitalization or punctuation. His approach to capitalization in particular is very 18th-century, though it’s probably a form of self-aggrandizement.

    I get what he’s doing with the capitalization, it’s his attempt to attach special importance to a concept (“It isn’t hope we need, it’s Hope”), which fits into his habit of trying to describe everything in grand or superlative terms. You see other people do this on occasion when they’re trying to be funny or ironic. What stands out about Trump is that he does it straight, and he does it so much (roughly every half-dozen words or so) it loses any impact it may have had. It almost looks like a compulsive tic.

    So while his capitalization is weird, I still have some sense of why he does it. His use of quotation marks is more baffling–it isn’t just quaint or overused, I don’t even know what mechanism he has in mind, especially because he seems to be undercutting himself.

  14. CSK says:

    Possibly he thinks that because the first letters in his name are already capitalized, the quote marks give it extra distinction/emphasis.

  15. Kathy says:


    it seems you fail to appreciate Benito’s public testing of the auto-incorrect system.

    It wil revolooshonice hte wurld.

  16. CSK says:

    I thought that addressed only his terribul speling.

  17. Kathy says:


    My judgments on my feelings tend not to apply to other people. besides, it’s listing gifts I found unseemly, not the desire to avoid receiving gifts.

    That said, IMO money is a perfectly acceptable form of gift.

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: I hate receiving gifts. Money is the one size fits all gift and it’s just what everyone wants (and it goes from parents to children, not the other way). My son and DiL do give one gift I appreciate: A small photo album of their past year with the focus mostly on our granddaughters.

  19. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mr. Prosser: @Kylopod: @CSK: And my thanks to you all in giving me the gist of what the story without my having to open the link, exposing me to Trumpian “thought.” I thank you.

  20. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Consider it my XMas gift to you.

  21. Gustopher says:


    DiL do


  22. Kathy says:

    The bad news: At long last, after 9 years, two books, two surgeries, one pandemic, and over 1.5 million scripted words, Mike Duncan has finished the Revolutions Podcast.

    The good news: he’s already working on his next podcast. He’ll team up with someone else (I forget the details, sorry*) to talk about history books.

    We’ll see. That’s certainly different than straight-up narrative history.

    Oh, one tidbit form the last ep. One of the first big idea kind of things I ever posted here, was a comparison between the early days of the Cheeto term and Duncan’s chapter on the Gracchi brothers in his book on the decline of the Roman Republic**.

    Well, Duncan was concerned the book might be overtaken by events before it was released.

    *One big drawback of listening while driving, is that I can get distracted by things like a difficult crossing, and bits of the podcast or audiobook simply don’t register.

    **Title: “The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic.”

  23. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Well, that aptly describes every family gathering I can remember from my childhood. And adolescence.

  24. dazedandconfused says:

    Found a gift in my mailbox today, an 8 x 10 bubble wrap envelope from Amazon addressed to someone in Georgia (on the other side of the country from me) that has a significant lump in the middle. Feels like a box-package about the size of a small frozen TV dinner. UPS tag. They are not supposed to leave things in mailboxes, which deepens the mystery. Googling the address on the package produces nothing, nada. It appears to be a BS address, but there are about a dozen people with this name in Georgia, one with the right zip code.

    Is this a present from the Gods….or is it a test from Santa to determine if I’m naughty or nice? I could easily explain opening it as a mistake stemming from not reading the address before opening. What to do…what to do…

  25. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @dazedandconfused: look for the tracking number? Call the closest UPS shipping center? call UPS 800 number? Lots of choices.

  26. Jax says:

    @dazedandconfused: Amazon and UPS have a “last mile” agreement with the USPS. That’s probably how it ended up in your box.

  27. Jax says:

    Given that we are cattle ranchers, we try to have something different for Christmas. I scored a killer deal on 5 lbs of cold water lobsters and 4 lbs of snow crab from Sam’s Club, so I made lobster mac and cheese to go with the broiled lobsters and boiled crab.

    I will never make that lobster mac and cheese recipe again, despite it’s deliciousness. It literally took 2 hours to prep, all by itself. It’s the first recipe I’ve followed in it’s entirety, I didn’t skip any processes or alter it all, which my daughter wrote down on her calendar. 😛

    I did, however, learn how to make a killer “shellfish” stock out of the shells and the dry white wine, though. So I guess not all was lost.

    I think we’re going back to prime rib next year, though. I’ve had enough. 😛

  28. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: ..hand blown glass ornament…

    I still have a glass Christmas tree ornament that my Aunt Ruth gave me. It sits on an open Mason jar on the kitchen counter. It has my name and 1949 on it. I was born January 1948 so she gave it to me on my second Christmas. As fragile as it is I don’t know how it has survived all these years with all the moving around that I have done. I guess it’s a Christmas miracle!

  29. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Well, given that regular days and other holidays outnumber Christmas 364.25 to one every year, it’s more like, as the Mad Hatter might say, an Un-Christmas miracle 🙂

  30. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kathy:..364.25 to 1…

    Thanks for the tip. I will use this formula next week and have a Mad Hatter endorsed
    un-birthday and revert back to 74 instead of advancing to 75.