Across the pond Boxing Day means deep discounts for shoppers, a top-grossing day for stores, and a chance for postal carriers, errand runners and servants to ask for a "Christmas box" of gifts or cash on December 26.
Here in Houston we carry on the tradition of Boxing Day but, as Old Blue Eyes would have crooned, we're doing it our way. From a full day of watching soccer matches in a bar with rabid fans to a sophisticated celebration at Rienzi with Christmas crackers on the lawn, December 26 gives us yet another day to celebrate the season.
"We like to carry on the traditions of the Mastersons. They were very interested in having people over to the house, they loved to entertain," says Stephanie Niemeyer, Rienzi's manager of Learning and Interpretation.
So in addition to breaking open brightly-colored Christmas crackers on the lawn (shown at the top of this page), other English traditions at Rienzi include holiday music, warm beverages, docent-led tours, a chance for little ones to make their own crowns and a presentation about the elaborate boxes found in the home.
The lecture, presented by curatorial assistant Misty Flores, will look at antique ornamental boxes that were constructed from different kinds of precious materials, sometimes using mahogany or gilding. "The artisans in the 1700s or 1800s would have covered them with gold leaf or silver leaf; [the boxes] were meant for precious objects, meant for displaying something pretty," says Niemeyer.
The Garden Club of Houston has been busy decorating the grounds with lights and garland, as well as the interior of the John Staub-designed home. Look for needlework and garden-themed ornaments on the trees.
"It's really special," says Niemeyer. "We hope [the Mastersons] would enjoy these types of programs, happy to know that people are coming to visit."
10 a.m.- 5 p.m. December 26, Rienzi, 1406 Kirby, 713-639-7800, mfah.org/calendar/boxing-day-at-rienzi/201812261000AM, free to $10.
9 a.m., Burnley vs. Everton
9 a.m., Liverpool vs. Newcastle United
9 a.m., Manchester United vs. Huddersfield Town
9 a.m., Tottenham Hotspur vs. AFC Bournemouth
9 a.m., Crystal Palace vs. Cardiff City
9 a.m., Leicester City vs. Manchester City
11:15 a.m., Brighton and Hove Albion vs. Arsenal
1:30 p.m., Watford vs. Chelsea
And if you're a newbie and catch football fever, see how The Phoenix celebrates local clubs by showing as much soccer and European football as they can. Discover area supporter clubs here.
8:45 a.m. December 26, The Phoenix on Westheimer, 1915 Westheimer, 713-526-3100, facebook.com/events/207703303457161 or phoenixow.com.