Unless you regularly watch period drama (AKA Downton Abbey), or hail from Canada, you may not have Boxing Day marked on your calendar. In the U.S. we officially call it “The Day After Christmas” (which just shows how original we can be with naming things).
So, what is Boxing Day? You’d think the title of the holiday would give it away.
“Independence” Day is when America won independence from the Great Oppressor (AKA England) and won the right not to celebrate all of their silly holidays. “Thanksgiving” is when we give thanks to all those Native Americans who made America great. Labor Day is when we get all of those odd jobs done that we’ve been putting off all year….
Boxing Day must be the day Brits box up the Christmas decorations. It takes all day because those artificial Christmas trees never fold back up into the boxes they came in. But wait, Christmas trees are supposed to stay up until Epiphany – the day we suddenly realize that Christmas is finally over and the house, once sparkling with lights, is starting to look a bit like the seedy side of Las Vegas.
So, maybe this is the day set aside for boxing up all of those unwanted presents we received for Christmas and returning them to the box stores. Realistically, that’s probably what most of us will be doing on Boxing Day, but the holiday dates back well before box stores – and Gift Returning as a sport.
It can’t possibly be the holiday when all Brits settle differences accumulated throughout the year by staging boxing matches. I know Sherlock Holmes was quite the pugilist, but the Brits I know have two left hands and can’t even put the gloves on correctly.
So what is Boxing Day all about? A quick trip to Wiki-land tells me….
It’s historically the day servants get a break after having to work on Christmas – complete with a Christmas “Box” or present from those who benefitted from their service the other 364 days of the year.
How cute. Gifts for the poor. No wonder it’s not a popular holiday in America. Republicans can’t stand welfare.
Quaintly, the tradition includes the upper class swapping places with the lower class in a Trading Places kind of way and the “have nots” get a little taste of the good life. I’m pretty sure this part of the holiday isn’t popular. Who wants to spend all day cleaning the house after the hoard of relatives has strewn wrapping paper everywhere?
The 20th century turned many things arse over tit. Now, it’s the day most of the “have nots” have to work (in the box stores) and the “haves” gets the day off (to return gifts or take advantage of after-Christmas sales).
As far as I can tell, the traditional Boxing Day fare is the same as The Day After Thanksgiving fare – left overs.
Traditional Boxing Day games include watching rugby, watching horse racing, watching basketball, watching football (both kinds), and full contact shopping. At least this is what’s left since fox hunting was abolished a couple of years ago to allow the foxes to have a day off, too.
Sadly, most of the Olde Englishe traditions have been lost in the modern world. Boxing Day is just another bank holiday; a day to watch re-runs on TV and avoid relatives.
I’m Jae and my Boxing Day message to you is “eat up”!