For many of us living in the United States, it is a mystery that comes around this time of year. We may be celebrating holidays like Christmas, Hannukah, and Kwanzaa but most of out calenders on the wall have the 26th of December marked for its own holiday. Boxing Day. You don’t hear much about it, there isn’t anything on Television about it, and stores don’t have anything special about the day AFTER the 25th of December. For people who notice the special mark on the 26th of December, it can leave us scratching our heads.
What the heck is Boxing day?
I have been wondering that for a long time and heard all kinds of stories. So with schedules working out as they did, I found this to be a good opportunity to actually find out for myself and give you all the info I could find.
It turns out, yes Boxing Day IS an actual holiday. It is celebrated in many countries around the world. In fact, December 26 celebrate many holidays. In some parts of the world, it is Saint Stephan’s Days, in some cultures, it is the second day of Christmastide or the second day of Christmas. Added to that is Boxing Day.
Boxing Day’s actual origins are one of those things lost to history, But it’s origin seems to be British so it is celebrated in some fashion in England and current or former territories of the crown. The earliest actual recorded mentions of it are from England in the 1830s. It was mentioned as the “first Weekday After Christmas” where you would leave a “Christmas box” to errand boys, servants, postman and the like. That actually sounds like a neat tradition. You gave Christmas cheer to your friends and family, and this is giving a similar feeling to those who do low-level work for their jobs. In this day and age, that idea could catch on, or make an interesting TV special. Wonder why this idea never caught on in the States.
The origins for it sound much better than some of the other “stories” of Boxing Day I’ve heard over the years. One was that the day was set aside to clean up after Christmas and gather together your “boxes” of presents, decorations, and whatever else to be stored away or thrown out. Another “origin” I’ve heard many times is that Boxing Day is when all the good feelings and peace towards your fellow man kinda run out so if you had any issues and quarrels with anybody that you kept low during Christmas, on Boxing Day you went out and actually fought the person, most likely in a bare knuckles boxing match.
Never let Pro Wrestling tell you how to celebrate holidays. Thank goodness I never had a brawl with someone on a snow-covered front lawn. December 26 is cold enough in Maine most years that people usually do not go outside at all, let alone to punch someone in the face.
In the real world, Boxing Day is a secular celebration in most places. In the UK, along with places like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and some other places, it is treated as a big shopping day. Much like “Black Friday” is in the United States. Lots of “Doorbuster Deals” and things like that. Some areas even have laws preventing a store from opening on Boxing Day and giving retails workers a rest. Boxing Day has suffered some of the same commercialism woes that “Black Friday” stores have suffered in the States with expanded “Boxing Week” coming into vogue and some retail mixing in “Black Friday” type deals as an excuse to keep a store open and with special deals for even longer amounts of days.
Besides shopping, a lot of former Britsh Territories do mark Boxing Day as a Federal Holiday with the day taken off from work and banks and many other places closed for the day. This is done with the idea of having time to rest and reflect from Christmas itself.
So if you are in a place or a person that celebrates Boxing Day. Go ahead and do your thing! If you are in a place that celebrates it is a MASSIVE shopping day Be careful and good to the people you are buying from. Much like Christmas, Boxing Day is meant to bring the good out of you. Enjoy!