Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Boxing Day

I was looking at my calendar the other day, when my child asked my what BOXING DAY was? I just looked at him and shrugged my shoulders. I hd no idea. Of course, he wanted to know if people were celebrating the sport, and I informed him that I seriously doubted it, much to his dismay. This got me to searching out the reason for the holiday.

Boxing Day is a holiday celebrated on December 26 in the United Kingdom, Ghana, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Norway, New Zealand, Greenland, and the Netherlands. In South Africa, the day is called Day of Goodwill, and in Ireland, they call it St. Stephen's Day or Day of the Wren.

It is believed to have started in the Middle Ages, though it's origins are unknown. Some say it was started because servants were required to work on Christmas day and to ensure that their holiday went without a hitch, they promised the servants the next day off, December 26. As the servants left the house to go visit with their families, the employers would give them gift boxes.

Another theory is that Church left out alms boxes for parishioners to deposit money into. On December 26, the clergy would distribute the coins to the poor.

December 26 is also known as St. Stephen's day in Ireland. He was one of the original seven deacons of the Christian Church. The deacons were ordained by the Apostles to care for the poor and the widows. It is said, that for his preaching and his devotion to Christ, he was stoned to death by a mob. As he lay their dying, he begged God not to punish his killers.

When I asked a friend who lives in London, what Boxing Day was, he advised that on this day boxed gifts are presented to people of public service, such as the mailman. I think this is a wonderful holiday and wished that everyone would celebrate it. I can say that for as long as I can remember, my parents always gave gifts to the trash man and the paper boy at Christmas time. That has carried over and I know that my brother and I do the same thing still.

Most people work hard for a living and I don't see anything wrong with letting them know that they are appreciated. So, the next time you see your mailman, tell him "Thank You!"


  1. My mom, who grew up in England, told me it was that the 25th was reserved for religious aspects of the holiday and then Boxing Day was the day to exchange gift boxes.

    It's interesting how so many ideas explain the day!

  2. Sarah, we used to when we were kids give money or spirits to the mail man. In our area our mail man is a jerk so therefore I would love to leave him a lump of coal for breaking our gifts, leaving mail on the ground and throwing our packages around.

    I love the idea of the tradition though. It's very close to what I posted regarding Handsel day or hand selling in Scotland where employers would provide gifts for their employees. The practice has died out though.

    Perhaps they experienced the same issues I did. LOL Or maybe as we grow we grow further apart. Either way at least we have the memory of the tradition.