Boxing Day is celebrated on December 26! Why is it called Boxing Day? And what, if anything, does boxing have to do with it? Boxing Day, like a box, has many points of interest.
This is a public holiday celebrated in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and other Commonwealth countries. Most offices are closed on this day if it is a weekday.
Boxing Day is a centuries-old gift-giving day that originated in Britain. Yes, boxes are a big part of Boxing Day traditions!
It was a custom on that day for tradesmen to collect their “Christmas boxes,” gifts of money or goods in return for reliable service all year. Do you have any trades people who have been especially helpful this year—your postman, fix-it guy, city doorman?
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the custom arose because servants, who would have to wait on their masters on Christmas Day, were allowed to visit their families the next day and employers would give them boxes to take home containing gifts, bonuses and, sometimes, leftover food.
One of the earliest records of these box gifts dates from 1663. In an entry in his diary, English Parliamentarian Samuel Pepys writes that he sent a coach and messenger to his shoemaker to deliver “something to the boys’ box against Christmas” in addition to funds to cover his bills.
Later, during the Victorian era (1837–1901, the period of Queen Victoria’s reign), Boxing Day evolved. It became an occasion for church parishioners to deposit donations into a box that was put out for the purpose by the clergyman. The money in the boxes was given to the poor.