by Kathryn Barrett
|Source: Peter Trimming|
As Americans, we weren’t quite sure what to do with a Boxing Day. Do you eat certain foods? Toss fireworks? Shop till you drop? No, apparently the tradition for Boxing Day—in the Middle Ages, anyway—is for the lords and ladies of the manor to box up gifts, coins, and leftover food and take it to the servants and other poor people in the village.
We don’t have any servants, and I’m pretty sure my neighbors don’t want my leftover food and too-small sweaters, so we decided to do something else with our unexpected holiday. In our family, Boxing Day has become a day for a family walk. And let’s face it: after the excess of the holidays—the overflowing dining table, the pile of gaily wrapped gifts, the electronic gadgets that lose their appeal about thirty minutes after starting up—there’s nothing better for the soul than a walk in the quiet countryside.
|Source: Scott Rimmer|
To help with navigation, we have books with maps of circular walks, most beginning and ending at a pub (where well-behaved dogs, muddy boots, and possibly children are allowed). Directions include such instructions as “At the kissing gate, find a well-worn path through the field.” (It turns out kissing gates aren’t nearly as romantic as they sound.)
|Source: Maxwell Hamilton|
Frankly, if I had to decide, I would say Boxing Day is my favorite holiday of the year. We always spend it with family, with our dog, and out on the footpaths I love so much. I don’t have to spend hours cooking, and then cleaning up (no servants, remember). There’s absolutely no commercialism to complain about, since there are no Boxing Day sales—all the shops are closed.
What could be a better holiday tradition, I ask you?
Having lived all over the United States, Kathryn and her family now live in England, just outside London. She enjoys walking her dog in the Chiltern hills and exploring crumbling castles, and only occasionally reads the Financial Times.
Laura Hayes has been acting since she was an infant, making Hollywood the only home she has ever known. But when she moves to Pennsylvania's Amish country to film her next movie, she discovers there's more to life than a pair of Jimmy Choos and a Marie Claire cover.
Intrigued by the Amish simplicity, she's soon gardening and baking plum pies—and enjoying it. And when her neighbor turns out to be the local heartthrob and a talented furniture maker, she realizes that what's missing from her life might be the love of a good man—not to mention the perfect heirloom tomato.
Jacob fights the urge to question the teachings of his Amish beliefs—despite his desire to create furniture that is beautiful as well as useful—and struggles with his longing for the sexy stranger who makes him feel truly alive for the first time. As his attraction grows, so do his doubts, until he's forced to face temptation and decide once and for all what is truly worth the fight.
Kathryn has generously offered signed Temptation bookmarks to a lucky commenter!
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