Lace ’em Up, It’s Boxing Day!

boxing.jpgI’ve been doing a little research on Boxing Day, which might or might not be today, December 26th.  The most commonly-used phrase about Boxing Day?  “Its exact origins are obscure.”  Also: “Another theory is…” 

Most sites that purport to explain it take pains to disassociate the holiday — it is a holiday in the U.K. and many Commonwealth countries including Canada — from “pugilistic competition.”  But they don’t have a better explanation.  It seems a bit strange that millions of people have this day off from work, but there is no reason for it.  How do you celebrate Boxing Day, other than staying home?  What if you grew up in a country that celebrated Boxing Day, and moved to one (like the U.S.) that doesn’t?  If your boss doesn’t give you the day off, can you claim discrimination?

There are a few other holidays that celebrate nothing in particular.  Most companies give their employees the day after Thanksgiving off, although I’ve worked several places that require you to use up a vacation day.  You know you’re still considered entry-level if they make you go to work the day after Thanksgiving.  New Year’s Day barely qualifies as a holiday.  “Hey everybody, look.  We can finally use the new calendar!”

roseparade_01_01_2005_20.jpgCompared with the day after Thanksgiving, however, New Year’s is loaded with tradition, especially in Southern California.  That’s right, we own New Year’s Day out here.  Except when it falls on a Sunday.  Luckily, we won’t have to deal with a Rose Parade on January 2nd again until 2011.

Boxing Day is often prized as a workday in the U.S., I’ve found.   “I love the week between Christmas and New Year’s,” many former colleagues would tell me.  “Nothing happens.”  They spend the week getting caught up.  I suppose there are two types of office workers in this country.  Those who like getting caught up during the last week of the year, and those who think they’re so important, they try to time their vacations for when things aren’t busy.  For companies that end their fiscal year on December 31, however, the week after Christmas can be stressful.   

According to this site, here are some things you can do to celebrate Boxing Day:

  • STEP 1: Attend a sporting event. In England, horse racing, regattas, football games and the Brighton Swimming Club’s annual dip into the icy English Channel are just some of the events that take place on Boxing Day.
  • STEP 2: Remember those who have provided a service to you during the year. The postal delivery person, the newspaper delivery person, and employees of your household or business should be remembered with a tip, bonus or gift basket.
  • STEP 3: Remember those in need. Tradition has it that on Boxing Day in Victorian England, the poor went from house to house bearing boxes that were filled by compassionate home owners with food, clothing and gifts. Give canned goods, clothing or your time to organizations that help the needy.
  • STEP 4: Go shopping. Shopping is a popular Boxing Day activity, and the malls are usually filled with people taking advantage of after-Christmas bargains.
  • STEP 5: Celebrate with friends. Provide food and drink, or organize a potluck get-together for friends and family. Make it low-key, as Boxing Day should be less hectic and more relaxing than Christmas Day.

One thought on “Lace ’em Up, It’s Boxing Day!

  1. You can read what I think about Boxing Day on my recent post. I would love to hear what a British historian has to say on this topic, as there are so many different views floating around the web. Based on what I learned when I was at school, I believe Boxing Day traditions originated in churches in medieval times (because that is when many alms boxes in British churches date from—they all have them—and they were so secure that they would surely have been opened on a special day of the year for distribution of contents to the poor) and then the lords of the manor houses would have copied the idea of charity to their servants. Boxing Day was made popular during Victorian times, and maybe that’s when the name of the day was set, but the origins are far older than that. And now I am going to sort out some donations for Shelter Network here in the Bay Area🙂

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