Boxing Day is a holiday celebrated the day after Christmas Day, thus being the second day of Christmastide.
Though it originated as a holiday to give gifts to the poor, today Boxing Day is primarily known as a shopping holiday.
The Oxford English Dictionary gives the earliest attestations from Britain in the 1830s, defining it as “the first weekday after Christmas day, observed as a holiday on which postmen, errand boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas box”.
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 British tradition where the servants of the wealthy were allowed the next day to visit their families since they would have to serve their masters on Christmas Day. The employers would give each servant a box to take home containing gifts, bonuses, and sometimes leftover food. Until the late 20th century there continued to be a tradition among many in the UK to give a Christmas gift, usually cash, to vendors although not on Boxing Day as many would not work on that day.
Extra Note: Boxing Day sales are common and shops often allow dramatic price reductions. For many merchants, Boxing Day has become the day of the year with the greatest revenue.
Check out our new website!
Share this with you’re friends!
Who’s Shine? buy shine a coffee and find out
Click Here to Buy Shine a Coffee!
Check out some more history