26    Dec 20120 comments

Holidays: Boxing Day

Boxing Day is a holiday traditionally observed in the UK and Commonwealth on December 26, but has nothing to do with the sport of the same name!

Where did it originate?

There are various opinions about its origins.

One view is that it comes from a very early Christian custom where boxes were left outside of churches for people to donate offerings for the Feast of Saint Stephen.

The European belief is that it stems from a tradition dating back to the Middle Ages where people would give money and gifts to needy tradesmen. In Britain, it was customary for tradesmen to collect boxes of money or presents, as thanks for their services, much like the concept of the Christmas bonus that many companies in western countries have adopted.

In the days when wealthy aristocrats employed servants to manage their homes, servants would have to work on Christmas Day, but would be given the next day as a holiday. The masters would give the servants a box of presents and leftovers to take home to their families.

Today, Boxing Day in the UK is mainly about shopping. Most people who celebrate Christmas will have spent a large amount of time and money shopping before the holiday, buying food for their festive dinner and presents for their family. To entice people back to the stores, Boxing Day is the day retailers traditionally hold sales. In this regard, it's very similar to Black Friday in the US.

As many families come together for the holidays, Boxing Day is also a ''bonus'' family day.

Are you celebrating Boxing Day? If so, how?

Let us know in the comments below.

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