Boxing Day…. what is it?

Of course Santa loves Boxing Day #dayoff

So today is Boxing Day. If you are reading this in the States then it’s just another day… in England and other parts of the Commonwealth this is also a days holiday for most people.

When I was growing up I always thought that the 26th December was named ‘Boxing Day’ because of all the sport that happens.

It’s always a huge day for football in the English Premiership (that’s soccer to you Americans, and football to the rest of the football playing world LOL), and Boxing Day evening in our house always meant tuning in to Match of the Day which is the summary program of all the day’s action….

My Dad and I would sometimes even go to a game when Aston Villa (his team) were playing at home .. (I’m a Liverpool fan so we’d always look for that tie!).

It’s also a huge day for horse racing and hunting..( we used to have a hunt come right past one of our houses in Worcestershire)..

Today is also a huge sales day at the stores…think Black Friday in the States… it’s crazy and I’ve never been…I’d rather lie in bed than get mixed up with that crazy! People queue in the cold… no thanks… there is a reason I live in Florida now!

So imagine my surprise when my husband (who is American) told me this morning that Boxing Day had nothing to do with sport and shopping originally..although there is some query about the origin!

According to Wikipedia

There are competing theories for the origins of the term, none of which is definitive.[5] The Oxford English Dictionary gives the earliest attestations from Britain in the 1830s, defining it as “the first week-day after Christmas-day, observed as a holiday on which post-men, errand-boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas-box”.[6]

The term “Christmas-box” dates back to the 17th century, and among other things meant:

A present or gratuity given at Christmas: in Great Britain, usually confined to gratuities given to those who are supposed to have a vague claim upon the donor for services rendered to him as one of the general public by whom they are employed and paid, or as a customer of their legal employer; the undefined theory being that as they have done offices for this person, for which he has not directly paid them, some direct acknowledgement is becoming at Christmas.[7]

In Britain, it was a custom for tradespeople to collect “Christmas boxes” of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year.[8]This is mentioned in Samuel Pepys‘ diary entry for 19 December 1663.[9] This custom is linked to an older British tradition: since they would have to wait on their masters on Christmas Day, the servants of the wealthy were allowed the next day to visit their families. The employers would give each servant a box to take home containing gifts, bonuses, and sometimes leftover food.

So apparently I’ve had it all wrong all this time…

Our Boxing Day traditions at my parents was an open house and lots of ‘buffet’ style food and desserts for anyone, family, friends and neighbors, to drop in and enjoy…. here my husband has gone to work and I’m blogging… hmmmmmm.

Have a wonderful Boxing Day, and enjoy your leftovers!