So what did your Boxing Day bring? Have you suffered from the bilious aftermath of the previous day’s overindulgence and excess? Did you receive all you wanted or are you in a quandary, wondering what to do with the now somewhat traditional unwanted Christmas gift?
Were you prevented from securing massive savings by the tube strike as you hit the shops looking for bargains? Were you one of those ‘lucky’ enough to boost the coffers of all those ‘ailing’ retailers; many of whom incidentally reported a strong trading day, thanks to the “hundreds of thousands of shoppers” (with no money) snapping up all the bargains. Hapless souls partaking in the de rigueur festive retail therapy to excess, irrespective of any real need for most of the items subsequently purchased.
Whatever the true meaning of Boxing Day, and there are several competing theories, to most it’s little more than just another day at the shops. But for some, the actual reality of this year’s seasonal austerity is far more substantial than simply financial.
A man was stabbed to death in Oxford Street, one of London’s busiest streets during the sales (see here). A murder inquiry has begun after a man was fatally stabbed in Littlehampton, West Sussex (see here). A 56-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a woman was found dead at a house in Nottingham (see here). A 23-year-old student from India died after he was shot at close range in Salford after an unprovoked attack (see here). And finally in Scotland, police are investigating two shootings which occurred within three miles of each other to the north of Glasgow (see here) over the Christmas period.
For each one of those lives lost in violent circumstances, there are also families and friends now spending their Christmas Holiday consumed with grief. In addition, for every one of these deaths (above) at the hands of others, there are also many more who have met their demise just as suddenly – all be it perhaps less violently.
Despite death rates in England and Wales being at their lowest-ever recorded levels (see here), according to official figures there were 493,242 deaths registered in England and Wales in 2010. That actually equates to an average of about 1,351 deaths for every day of the year, including Christmas.
During my 30yrs as a police officer I have dealt with all manner of sudden deaths at Christmas. Be they road accident victims, those who have committed suicide or the less sudden age or illness related death. For each one there are nearly always relatives left behind who can never truly enjoy the seasonal festivities ever again. For each subsequent year they are reminded about the grief brought on by the loss of a loved one.
Like our Emergency Services, even the Grim Reaper turns up for work on Bank Holidays. Unfortunately it’s usually not very pleasant and therefore hardly a wonder that; Christmas isn’t actually as ‘special’ for some as it is for others!
- Boxing Day sales shoppers turn out early for bargains and belated gifts (guardian.co.uk)
- Mortality statistics: every cause of death in England and Wales, visualised | Datablog (guardian.co.uk)
- At a glance: key findings of life expectancy report (telegraph.co.uk)