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Flying Christmas Day


Boxing Day 2023

Flying back east on Christmas Day. I awoke this morning at 5 am to a message from Delta that my 1050 am flight was delayed until 4 pm. They could get me to Atlanta today but I’d have to overnight and catch a flight to CHO tomorrow morning. Overnight stay on my nickel, I guess.

As I worked through my sleepy cobwebs to consider my options, I looked at other flights. I found several on Delta but each time I went to book, I received a “fare is no longer available” message. Seems like others on my delayed Delta flight were exploring their options, too.

After a few seconds of expressing my displeasure with Delta through my profane internal voice, I went to the American Airlines app and easily found a one-connection flight to CHO that gets me into Charlottesville by midnight (scheduled). A quick cancellation of my Demta flight (lucky I had booked fully refundable fares) and click “purchase” on American and I was set. Well. Almost. My “reserved” Uber would be arriving at 730 am to pick me up from Paradise while my AA flight would not be departing until 130 pm. Christmas Day morning at LAX; I actually looked forward to the experience.

The time at LAX Terminal 5 has passed rather interestingly. I observed several full flights boarding — to Vegas, Hawaii and Los Cabos. I did wonder what’s happened to America’s dress code — would folks wear these same clothes to run errands in their neighborhoods? Certainly few people are “dressed to impress.” No more than a handful of us (out of 2,000 people?) are wearing anything that would indicate today is Christmas Day. Hmm — I guess that is rather judgmental? I prefer to consider it an interesting observation.

Traveling requires a degree of calm and patience that I am glad I have developed. I find that I need to accept that much is outside of my control. I see people being quick to frustrate and all too willing to take out tgst frustration on others. I find myself more aware of making eye contact — kind eye contact — and being quick with a smile, a thank you and today, a Merry Christmas. Was it Yogi who said “ it doesn’t cost nothing to be nice?” I don’t know if that attitude helps anyone else, but at least for me it keeps me from going down “Frustration Avenue.”

Four minutes to pushback; 426 pm on the East Cosst. With any luck I’ll be home on Christmas.

What happened to all those airplane seats that had phones inserted in their backs? And those CRTs that were in the ceilings of 757s and 767s?

And speaking of Boxing Day...


There are competing theories for the origins of the term, none of which are definitive.

The European tradition of giving money and other gifts to those in need, or in service positions, has been dated to the Middle Ages, but the exact origin is unknown; it may reference the alms box placed in the narthex of Christian churches to collect donations for the poor. The tradition may come from a custom in the late Roman/early Christian era wherein alms boxes placed in churches were used to collect special offerings tied to the Feast of Saint Stephen,[7] which, in the Western Christian Churches, falls on the same day as Boxing Day, the second day of Christmastide. On this day, it is customary in some localities for the alms boxes to be opened and distributed to the poor.

The Oxford English Dictionary gives the earliest attestation from Britain in 1743, defining it as "the day after Christmas day", and saying "traditionally on this day tradespeople, employees, etc., would receive presents or gratuities (a "Christmas box") from their customers or employers."

The term "Christmas box" dates back to the 17th century, and among other things meant:

A present or gratuity given at Christmas: in Great Britain, usually confined to gratuities given to those who are supposed to have a vague claim upon the donor for services rendered to him as one of the general public by whom they are employed and paid, or as a customer of their legal employer; the undefined theory being that as they have done offices for this person, for which he has not directly paid them, some direct acknowledgement is becoming at Christmas.

In Britain, it was a custom for tradesmen to collect "Christmas boxes" of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year. This is mentioned in Samuel Pepys' diary entry for 19 December 1663. This custom is linked to an older British tradition where the servants of the wealthy were allowed the next day to visit their families since they would have had to serve their masters on Christmas Day. The employers would give each servant a box to take home containing gifts, bonuses, and sometimes leftover food. Until the late 20th century, there continued to be a tradition among many in the UK to give a Christmas gift, usually cash, to vendors, although not on Boxing Day, as many would not work on that day.

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