Someone asked recently why is the 26th called Boxing Day and what exactly is it…… Well tradition aside it most closely resembles Black Friday from a purely materialistic point of view. From a family point of view, it is the day you have your second turkey dinner by either visiting the other set of parents or the day you cook your own dinner because you already ate at the “rents” the day before. In otherwords the continuation of the Turkey Coma.
For us our tradition is movies and PJ’s all day with hot turkey sandwiches, we avoid the malls like crazy ( neither of our families live close so there is no hopping back and forth between houses and up until this year the boys would come to Ottawa to celebrate with us).
I love this quiet day of reflection, where we do not have to go anywhere or do anything we can just enjoy the company we are in and stuff out faces with leftovers. Today was the Big Bang Marathon followed by the latest Die Hard and Jake Reacher, I know the Christmas season at its best ( plus throw in College Football, Christmas Cookies and warmed up leftovers and it is like the perfect day)
A little history lesson borrowed from wikipedia:
Boxing Day is traditionally the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen would receive gifts, known as a “Christmas box”, from their bosses or employers. Today, Boxing Day is the bank holiday that generally takes place on 26 December. It is observed in the United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago and other Commonwealth nations.
In South Africa, Boxing Day was renamed Day of Goodwill in 1994. In Ireland and Italy, the day is known as St. Stephen’s Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Stiofáin) or the Day of the Wren (Irish: Lá an Dreoilín). In many European countries, including notably Germany, Poland, the Netherlands and those in Scandinavia, 26 December is celebrated as the Second Christmas Day.
The exact etymology of the term “boxing day” is unclear. There are several competing theories, none of which is definitive. The European tradition, which has long included giving money and other gifts to those who were needy and in service positions, has been dated to the Middle Ages, but the exact origin is unknown. It is believed to be in reference to the Alms Box placed in places of worship to collect donations to the poor. Also, it may come from a custom in the late Roman/early Christian era, wherein metal boxes placed outside churches were used to collect special offerings tied to the Feast of Saint Stephen, which in the Western Church falls on the same day as Boxing Day.
In Britain, it was a custom for tradesmen to collect “Christmas boxes” of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year. This is mentioned in Samuel Pepys‘ diary entry for 19 December 1663. This custom is linked to an older English 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 and bonuses, and maybe sometimes leftover food.
In Britain, Canada, and some states of Australia, Boxing Day is primarily known as a shopping holiday, much like Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) in the US. It is a time where shops have sales, often with dramatic price reductions. For many merchants, Boxing Day has become the day of the year with the greatest amount of returns. In the UK in 2009 it was estimated that up to 12 million shoppers appeared at the sales (a rise of almost 20% compared to 2008, although this was also affected by the fact that the VAT would revert to 17.5% from 1 January, following the temporary reduction to 15%).
Many retailers open very early (typically 5 am or even earlier) and offer doorbuster deals and loss leaders to draw people to their stores. It is not uncommon for long queues to form early in the morning of 26 December, hours before the opening of shops holding the big sales, especially at big-box consumer electronics retailers. Many stores have a limited quantity of big draw or deeply discounted items.Because of the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, many choose to stay home and avoid the hectic shopping experience. The local media often cover the event, mentioning how early the shoppers began queueing up, providing video of shoppers queueing and later leaving with their purchased items. Many retailers have implemented practices aimed at managing large numbers of shoppers. They may limit entrances, restrict the number of patrons in a store at a time, provide tickets to people at the head of the queue to guarantee them a hot ticket item or canvass queued-up shoppers to inform them of inventory limitations.
In recent years, retailers have expanded deals to “Boxing Week“. While Boxing Day is 26 December, many retailers will run the sales for several days before or after 26 December, often up to New Year’s Eve. Notably, in the recession of late 2008, a record number of retailers were holding early promotions due to a weak economy. Canada’s Boxing Day has often been compared with the American Super Saturday, the Saturday before Christmas.
In some areas of Canada, particularly in Atlantic Canada and parts of Northern Ontario (including Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury), most retailers are prohibited from opening on Boxing Day, either by provincial law or municipal bylaw, or instead by informal agreement among major retailers to provide a day of relaxation following Christmas Day. In these areas, sales otherwise scheduled for 26 December are moved to the 27th.
In the Republic of Ireland, since 1902, most shops remain closed on St. Stephen’s Day. In 2009, some stores decided to open on this day, breaking a 107-year-old tradition.
In 2009, many retailers with both online and High Street stores launched their online sales on Christmas Eve and their High Street sales on Boxing Day.
So Happy Boxing Day everyone,