Today is Boxing Day. This public holiday is commonly celebrated in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and other Commonwealth countries.
Boxing Day originated as a day when servants, tradespeople and the poor were given gifts. During the Victorian era (1837–1901, the period of Queen Victoria’s reign), the upper class would box up leftover food, money, or goods and give them to their tradesmen as well as their servants as a thank you for their reliable service all year.
The origin of the name has varied, with some believing it started when churches would leave alms boxes to collect donations for those less fortunate. Others say Boxing Day started when employers would give their employees boxes of gifts the day after Christmas because servants were required to work on Christmas day.
On Boxing Day, if a family is capable, it is tradition to give to the less fortunate. People also typically gather with their families, celebrate together for meals, relax at home, attend sporting events, or go shopping. Traditional Boxing Day food includes baked ham, pease pudding, and mince pies.
Americans don’t typically celebrate Boxing Day; however, that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate or acknowledge it. After all, it’s a holiday for humanity, and you can partake with simple acts of kindness like making dinner for a friend, volunteering at a local animal shelter, or sending someone flowers or a card. It’s all about giving back and helping others, and anyone can participate.
Happy Boxing Day!