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Today is Boxing Day

In many countries, it's a natural extension of the Christmas holiday. Here's a look at what it's all about.

More years than not, I've been scheduled to work on Dec. 26, and little else can put an abrupt end to holiday festivities and cheer like working the next day. And it's also a day for which I have some very fond memories. Many years ago, I did a work abroad program in college and was in England during the holidays. I spent Christmas and Boxing Day with a friend and his family and it truly was a natural extension of Christmas--a two-day celebration of the holiday. We ate, we laughed, we hiked, we ate more--in short, we were merry.

So today, in honor of our friends to the north, across the sea, and down under, we offer some facts and trivia about what this day means in other countries.

  • Boxing Day is December 26, the day after Christmas, and is celebrated in Great Britain and in most areas settled by the English (the U.S. is the major exception), including Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. (factmonster.com)
  • Some historians say the holiday developed because servants were required to work on Christmas Day, but took the following day off. As servants prepared to leave to visit their families, their employers would present them with gift boxes. (factmonster.com)
  • Boxes were placed in churches for casual offerings to be opened on Christmas Day, and the contents, called the "dole of the Christmas box," or the "box money," were distributed the next day by priests for the poor. (funtrivia.com)
  • Another theory is that the boxes placed in churches where parishioners deposited coins for the poor were opened and the contents distributed on December 26, which is also the Feast of St. Stephen. (factmonster.com)
  • Today, it is customary in many households to give Christmas gift packs and boxes to people who serve them on a routine basis, from the paperboy to the milkmaid, the dustman and even the postal worker. (funsocialstudies.learninghaven.com)
  • Boxing Day, as it is observed these days--with lots of food, fun and gifts--is a celebration of friendship and love. The day carries forward the spirit of the Christmas celebrations. Though government associations and small businesses keep their shutters down, malls remain open to give full indulgence to shoppers. (funsocialstudies.learninghaven.com)

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