Is Boxing Day about boxes? Since it falls the day after Christmas (usually), some people (Americans, for example, since we don't really celebrate Boxing Day) assume it's about disposing of boxes from the Christmas gifts. While the trash collectors may call it Boxing Day for that reason, that's really not the case.
The origin of the term “Boxing Day” is uncertain, but the European tradition may have come from as far back as Roman times, when owners would present slaves and people of lesser status with gifts on Saturnalia. Or the term may have come later when it was the custom to place metal boxes outside churches to collect alms for the poor and needy on the Feast of St. Stephen, which falls on the same day.
|Today, shopping (in stores or online) is a popular Boxing Day tradition in many Commonwealth countries. Presumably, some people are returning unwanted gifts at the same time, as we do in the U.S.|
In the English tradition, Boxing Day was a time to reward servants, tenants and tradesmen with gifts of money and/or food. Because servants were required to work on Christmas Day, it was tradition to give them the next day off to spend with their families.
Fox hunting was a popular sport on Boxing Day as well. The weather was usually not too much of a problem; contrary to popular thought, the winter weather in much of England tends to be quite mild. The winter of 1813, when A Twelfth Night Tale takes place, was a particularly cold one. But that didn’t stop Lucy and Andrew from braving the cold to collect greenery to embellish Livingston Hall with Christmas cheer on Christmas Day. Nor did it prevent them from taking the children and distributing boxes to the community on Boxing Day.
These activities had the effect of pulling Andrew out of his melancholy and opening his eyes to the desirability of the grown-up Lucy. Lucy dared to hope that Andrew’s attentiveness might be a sign that he was seeing her with new eyes. But he was still nursing a broken heart, and with an offer of marriage from a wealthy viscount expected at any moment, could she afford to gamble that Andrew would come up to scratch before it was too late?
Boxing Day Today (from Wikipedia)
In Scotland, Boxing Day has been specified as an additional bank holiday since 1974 by Royal Proclamation under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971.
In Ireland – when the island as a whole was part of the United Kingdom – the Bank Holidays Act 1871 established the feast day of St. Stephen as a non-movable public holiday on 26 December. Since the creation of the Republic of Ireland following partition in 1920, Northern Ireland – being part of the United Kingdom – officially reverted to use of the British name 'Boxing Day'.
In Australia, Boxing Day is a federal public holiday. In the Australian state of South Australia, 28 December is a public holiday known as Proclamation Day and Boxing Day is not normally a public holiday. The holiday for Proclamation Day is observed on the first weekday after Christmas Day or the Christmas Day holiday. Nowadays Boxing Day is popular in Australia as the first day of a Test cricket match held at the MCG and the annual Sydney to Hobart yacht race. A Test match is also often held in South Africa starting on Boxing Day.
In New Zealand, Boxing Day is a statutory holiday; penalty rates and lieu time are provided to employees who work on Boxing Day.
In Canada, Boxing Day is a federal statutory holiday. Government offices, banks and post offices/delivery are closed. In some Canadian provinces, Boxing Day is a statutory holiday that is always celebrated on 26 December. In Canadian provinces where Boxing Day was a statutory holiday, and it falls on a Saturday or Sunday, compensation days are given in the following week.
In the United States, 26 December is given as a holiday to state employees in some, mainly southern, states: Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas but it is not known as Boxing Day.
My Own Personal Philosophyis that Boxing Day is about giving. Rewarding service of loyal employees, helping those in need, giving to worthy charities. I'm not a wealthy landowner like Andrew Livingston in my story, but I am fortunate to have more than what is needed to support myself. For me, Boxing Day is a chance to look around and see the needs of people around me and make a plan for giving for the year to come.
About the Author
Susana has always had stories in her head waiting to come out, especially when she learned to read and her imagination began to soar.
A former teacher, Susana lives in Toledo, Ohio in the summer and Florida in the winter. She is a member of the Central Florida Romance Writers and the Beau Monde chapters of RWA and Maumee Valley Romance Inc.