On the calendar, you may notice a strange day listed right after Christmas…the day after Christmas is traditionally called Boxing Day, but very few people know the history and purpose of Boxing Day. In fact, many historians also dispute its origins.
Boxing Day takes place on December 26th and is only celebrated in a few countries; mainly ones historically connected to or colonized by the UK, such as Canada, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand.
One explanation for Boxing Day is that in the 19th century in Europe, rich landowners would give ‘gifts’, often leftovers from Christmas meals to those who worked for them on this day. They would “box” their gifts or leftovers and give them to the servants, who had the day after Christmas off to spend with their own families.
Churches also played a part in the creation of Boxing Day, by collecting money for the poor in collection ‘boxes’ on Christmas Day. The money was then handed out to the poor the next day on Boxing Day.
In contemporary society, Boxing Day has lost its sense of charity and these days it is a day for families and friends to gather, watch sport, enjoy leftovers and relax after Christmas.
For retailers, Boxing Day is also a significate holiday. Many countries consider it to be a great day for shopping. It is when shops traditionally had big sales after Christmas in the UK, like Black Friday in the USA. Shoppers flock to Boxing Day sales, treating themselves to clearance items that retailers couldn’t sell through before Christmas.
What are your plans this Boxing Day?