So…what’s Boxing Day? Though our friends across the pond don’t even have to ask, we Americans may scratch our heads a bit at this one. We know that it is, just not necessarily what it is.
From reading, I knew that Boxing Day was the day after Christmas, which, historically speaking, servants had off to celebrate Christmas with their families. But obviously there’s more history to it than that, right?
Of course there is! 😉
The phrase itself originated in 1809, but it comes from a practice that dates back to the Middle Ages. The day after Christmas was, you see, traditionally the day when the alms-box located at each church was opened up and distributed among the poor. It also then became the day when servants, service people like postal employees or errand boys, etc, could expect a gift from their employers, usually given in a small box. And then, of course, it was also the day servants could then leave the masters to fend for themselves and go enjoy the contents of those gift boxes with their own families or friends. The boxes usually included gifts of money and leftover food from the Christmas feast.
These days, Boxing Day has become a shopping holiday, filled with sales much like America’s Black Friday deals. It’s when people can expect the best sales of the year. There are certain areas in Canada where this has been banned and retailers are to remain closed on Dec 26, to provide the holiday to their employees. Very traditional, that. 😉 In those regions, Dec 27 gets the good sales instead.