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.
For many of us, the holidays are about family time.
Presents, food, jokes, games, are all part of the traditional celebrations and experiences that we look forward to sharing with our families each and every year.
We want to know whether you have a special family game you play during the holidays. Let us know in the poll below.
(P.S.: Don't forget our holiday competition for your chance to win a digital camera!)
Many of our most special memories come from spending time with our families over the holidays.
We remember the dinners, gifts, songs and jokes we shared. Wonderful testimonials to these unique moments are the photos we will treasure for ever.
The MyHeritage team
What is it about holiday music? Those catchy tunes we can’t get out of our head? The musical notes that bring us back to earlier times?
It really doesn’t matter if the listener celebrates Christmas, Chanukah or Kwanza; that winter music - religious or secular - just gets deep inside our bones. Important family events take place at the holidays, and a particular song may bring back all kinds of warm, fuzzy memories.
A favorite of mine is "Sleigh Ride," in the instrumental version by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra.
Written by Leroy Anderson in 1948, Mitchell Paris added the lyrics in 1950. Here's the story behind the song. It is considered one of the top 10 most popular Christmas songs ever, even though the holiday is never mentioned in the lyrics.
Whether you'll be visiting close relatives or meeting with distant cousins, family get-togethers are the perfect way to find out more about your family history.
Want to add more information to your family tree or inspire the younger generations to get involved? Here are three simple tips to turn your next family gathering into a genealogy opportunity!
1. Ask relatives to bring an old family object
Documenting the story of a family treasure can be an great tool to increase understanding about your family history. Whether a letter, card, ornament, jewelry or recipe, encourage relatives to bring something to show everyone. These items can bring interesting stories to life and provide new family information.
It's also a great opportunity to make family history discoveries. Ask your relatives about their lives, and the lives of their parents. Asking about past family Thanksgiving celebrations can be an enjoyable conversation for all the family where you can learn how your ancestors celebrated and discover other unknown information.
Try and use the time when the family is all together to share with them what you've discovered about your collective family history. Who knows, perhaps you'll get a piece of information that will help you break down a brick wall in your research.
This wonderful family holiday is celebrated by Americans around the world, no matter where they live. It's the time for families to get together and share a delicious feast. The day often includes watching football on TV and planning for “Black Friday” shopping deals!
It is a genuine family holiday and many of us have touching or hilarious stories about Thanksgivings past.
MyHeritage invites you to share your funny stories for the chance to win a one-year PremiumPlus membership. Simply comment on this post or post comments on our Facebook wall or, if you can fit it into 140 characters, tweet them @myheritage. The winning story will be announced on Friday.
Since I can’t participate in the competition as I'm part of the MyHeritage team, here’s my hilarious holiday story.
2013 is just around the corner so it's time to start thinking about organizing the year ahead. With so many family birthdays, anniversaries, events, holidays and personal activities to keep track of, anyone can appreciate a handy family calendar for the New Year, prepared in a few clicks!
Our beautiful calendars are really simple to make, because you've already done the hard part - entering the family birthdays, anniversaries and other events and adding photos to your MyHeritage family tree. All this will be automatically placed in the family calendar along with relatives' photos related to each event.
A collage of family photos will appear on the cover page for each month - but not just any photos! The calendar automatically selects photos of people who have a special event during that month. You can also customize the calendar, add or edit events, remove or replace photos, add national holidays and religious holidays and much more.
The calendars are the result of our partnership with specialist companies Fuga Technologies and Total Graphics. The calendars are extremely affordable, costing less than $20 each. They make a great gift for your family for the upcoming holidays and if you order multiple copies you will not pay more for shipping, which is very affordable at approx. $2 only. Express shipping is available for those who need their calendars in a rush.
Valentine's Day is 14 days away and millions of couples around the world prepare for the most romantic day in the year.
People also recall how it was celebrated generations ago. They may remember incredible and moving love stories of their own or of their ancestors.
We have all heard the love stories of our grandparents, great-grandparents or other ancestors. These may include a love that was separated or difficult due to distance, historical events, family disagreements or other reasons.
Even though times were much harder, somehow those impossible loves won out, the couple married and their love story lasted until contemporary times.
When I was younger, it was quite an opportunity to listen to some cringe-worthy love stories from my parents. The experience was more of a learning opportunity (as in a whistle-stop tour of how not to let a lady know about your affections).