December 26 – Santa’s Last Job

Boxing Day Blowout

There are jokes out there that Boxing Day got its name from people packing up the gifts they got for Christmas, in order to return them to stores for refund or exchange. Same goes for people hastily packing up their holiday ornaments mere hours after their family celebrations. While both are completely untrue, here are some things you could be doing on Dec. 26!

boxing-day

Shopping

Malls and stores are madhouses on this day and I prefer to not have to deal with either. I don’t really think great deals are achieved and the headache of waking up early and dealing with crowds isn’t worth it. The couple times I have previously gone Boxing Day shopping were more hassle than anything else, like the year I bought a new laptop, with very little savings, and in the outlet’s haste, they didn’t even load it up properly and I had to return to the outlet numerous times to drop off and pick up my new computer.

Open House

This year, like last Boxing Day, I have been given the task of playing barkeep for my family and in-laws, as they enjoy the Christmas afterglow with food, treats, and being incredibly lazy. Thankfully, this year, I’ve taken Dec. 27th off from work and can join in the celebrations, instead of having to drive home later in the evening and get ready to return to work the next day. It will be a rocking open house, indeed!

Watch Sports

As I outlined in an earlier post, there’s a lot of sports to be consumed during the holidays. Boxing Day features the kickoff of both the World Junior Hockey Championship and Spengler Cup, as well as test cricket matches and a yacht race in Australia. In the UK, each football league holds a full slate of matches and throughout Africa, prize fights are held, given true meaning to the name ‘Boxing Day’! Apparently, Boxing Day is also a popular day for horse racing in different parts of the world.

polar bear plunge

Polar Bear Swim… yeah, that could be worth watching, too!

Playtime

If you’re not cozied up watching sports, you could pop outside into the fresh air and enjoy some physical activity. There used to be an annual fox hunt in England, but while that has been outlawed, the powers that be can’t ban us from playing sports like hockey, soccer, and football, or participate in winter activities like skiing, snowboarding and ice skating. Make sure to include the young ones and give them an idea of what it’s like to be outdoors for a change.

Be Charitable

Boxing Day could provide the perfect opportunity to pitch in somewhere in your community and help those less fortunate. My donations to this world are this wonderful website and all of its free content, which until I’m paid to operate, will serve as my community service. There are so many other ways for you normal folks to lend a hand, but I’ll leave that decision to you… or you could just send money my way and turn this non-profit into a fully functioning industry!

Drink #360: Santa’s Last Job

Santa's Last Job Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Vodka (I used Devil’s Food)
  • 1 oz Chambord
  • Top with Milk
  • Garnish with Jellybeans

What do you prefer to do with your extra day off for Boxing Day? If it’s enjoying your new gifts while getting drunk off your ass, join the club!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail is perfect for dessert or a nightcap, with Chambord kicking in a bit of berry flavour amongst the Devil’s Food Vodka chocolate taste. Sometimes something as simple as a couple Jellybeans can make a really nice garnish. Simplicity can be a beautiful thing!

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November 29 – Black Friday

Bloody Friday

I’ve never taken part in a Black Friday shopping event, at home or abroad. I don’t like crowds, waking up early, and the idea of fighting over limited deals. I did do Boxing Day shopping on a couple of occasions when Mrs. Sip and I were in our early dating years and those were bad enough that we fazed them out. Good thing, too, here are some of the craziest Black Friday stories!

black-friday-trample

Door Crashers

In 2008, a 34-year-old Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death in Valley Stream, New York when Black Friday consumers stampeded into the store. Shoppers continued to pour into the location, despite the injury and co-workers trying to stop the rush and help their fallen comrade. Even police where shoved by deal-seekers as they tried to assist on the scene. A pregnant woman was also hurt in the incident, begging the question: what the hell was she doing there in the first place!?

Toys R’ Us Kid

On the same day, across the country, two people were shot and killed following an altercation at a Toys ‘R’ Us store in Palm Desert, California. As two women began fighting, their respective male counterparts pulled guns on each other and ended up killing one another (no loss there!). The incident was said to be more personal than a fight over merchandise and could have been gang-related. When I go to Toys ‘R’ Us, I’m always packing heat!

Cutting Edge

In 2010, a woman was arrested outside a Toys ‘R’ Us (what is with people shopping for their kids?) in Madison, Wisconsin after cutting in line and threatening to shoot people who objected to her budging. No cuts, no butts, no coconuts, am I right! Lanessa Lattimore was quoted as saying, “I just wanted to get my daughter the toy that she wanted for Christmas, which probably won’t be there when I go today.” Did ya think they might restock sometime in the next month!?

Black Friday Savings

Pour Some Pepper On Me

In Porter Ranch, California, in 2011, a woman used pepper spray on fellow shoppers to “get an advantage” on them over discounted Xbox 360 video game systems. This was in a wealthy suburb, of all places! The attack injured about 20 shoppers and unfortunately, the perpetrator got away in the chaos… whether she was also able to grab her prized Xbox is unknown. You have to hope that at some point, karma comes back to haunt this loser.

‘Tis the Season

In 2011, Walter Vance, 61, collapsed after entering a Target store on Black Friday and later died in hospital from a previously known heart condition. These things happen, but the tragedy comes when people stepped over the man and continued their shopping while he was in distress. I have to point out, if you know you have a heart condition, why in the hell are you joining the madness of Black Friday… and this dude should have known better, he was a freakin’ pharmacist! Worst yet, apparently all he wanted was Christmas decorations. As if those couldn’t have waited!

Black Friday Survival

Parking Wars

Sometimes folks don’t even get into the stores before violence breaks out on Black Friday. Two people were shot outside a Wal-Mart in Tallahassee, Florida after a dispute over a parking spot. I think one of the things I hate most in life is crowded parking lots and the whole pursuit of a suitable spot. I know I’m far from the only one who gets put on edge as you spend countless time going up and down aisles hoping for an opening and when you finally find one, you feel like celebrating… with gun shots!

Love at First Line

Things aren’t all bad, though, on Black Friday. In 1991, two random people lined up outside a K-Mart in Valley Stream, New York and made small talk as they waited for seven hours for the store’s doors to open. Two years later, they married and in 2009, Matthew and Michaelle Tulloch, won a $1,000 shopping spree at Best Buy for sharing their story in an essay contest. The couple now has two kids and celebrates every Black Friday the same way they spent that fateful day in 1991.

Drink #333: Black Friday

Black Friday Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Bourbon (I used Jim Beam Black Cherry)
  • Top with half Ginger Ale and half Cola
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with Crushed Lime Wedges

Did you know that the last Friday before Christmas has also been dubbed ‘Black Friday’ in the United Kingdom, due to it being a popular night for office Christmas parties and the resulting need for emergency services following hard drinking and an increase in fights!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I really liked this cocktail thanks to its taste and simplicity. My favourite touch of the entire recipe is to use Crushed Lime Wedges which are meant to honour the many that have been trampled attending these Black Friday sales. I thought that was such a great idea and tried to reflect that in my work.