Boxing Day – If you were like me, you always seen Boxing Day on your calendar. I never knew what it was. I thought it was a day for the sport of boxing where people fight each other. It wasn’t until 2010 doing the our family Christmas Newsletter, Patterson Post that I found out what it is. This is just a brief write up about this holiday.
What is Boxing Day?
Boxing Day is a day we see on our calendars every year and we all have wondered what exactly it is?
Traditionally, Boxing Day, celebrated on 26 December, they day after Christmas, however, Boxing Day cannot be on a Sunday, that day being the officially recognized day of worship.
This holiday is considered a public holiday in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and countries in the Commonwealth of Nations. In South Africa this public holiday is now known as the Day of Goodwill. In some countries it is a bank holiday, meaning the banks are closed.
The name derives from the English tradition giving seasonal gifts (in the form of a “Christmas Box”) to less wealthy people. In the United Kingdom this was later extended to various work people such as laborers, servants, tradespeople and postal workers.
You would put money or presents in these Christmas boxes and usually gave them to your working staff sometimes to other people who may be affiliated with you in doing business or everyday stuff.
I like the fact that Boxing Day cannot be on a Sunday, because it is the day of Worship, yet this holiday is considered to be a secular holiday too. In that case, it would be that Monday. For example, December 26, 2021 it will fall on a Sunday. So that year, Boxing Day will be on Monday, December 27, 2021.
I learned it wasn’t about people fighting in the sport of boxing but about using the leftover Christmas Boxes the day after Christmas.
The end of the year presents plenty of opportunities for shopping and celebrating. Starting with Thanksgiving preparations, there is a steady supply of days geared around generosity and merriment, counting down to the holiday gifting and entertaining season. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and all of the weekends preceding Christmas are prime opportunities to snag discounts and deals. However, for those in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, gift-giving doesn’t cease with the passing of Christmas.
Boxing Day, which falls the day after Christmas, has nothing to do with bringing empty gift boxes out to the recycling bin. While it has transformed into another day to grab seasonal deals, Boxing Day has historically served as a day to give to the less fortunate.
During the Victorian era in Britain, servants were not given off on Christmas Day because they had to work during their employers’ celebrations. Therefore, they were allowed off the following day – December 26 – to spend time with their own families. The holiday became standard practice in 1871. Boxing Day may have gotten its moniker from wealthy people who would give their employees boxes filled with small gifts, Christmas dinner leftovers and money as recognition for their service. Others believe it refers to alms boxes placed in churches for the collection of donations for the poor.
December 26 also is the feast day of St. Stephen, the patron saint of horses, so Boxing Day has been tied to sporting events involving horses. This includes horse races and fox hunts.
Even though the British established early residency in America, the Boxing Day tradition did not travel over to the colonies from England. However, Canadians and other former British strongholds celebrate it as a public holiday. Offices are closed and public transportation may run on holiday schedules.
Boxing Day is yet another end-of-year opportunity to share gifts and well wishes with loved ones and the less fortunate.
While it has transformed into another day to grab seasonal deals, Boxing Day has historically served as a day to give to the less fortunate.
Published in Patterson Post 09/10 Issue. Plus additions were added for this blog post. Info used from MetroCreative. TF20C561 First published on Courageous Christian Father on December 26, 2015. Last republished or updated on December 23, 2020.