Sunday, 26 December 2010

What is Boxing day?

Traditionally Boxing Day was a day to open the Christmas box to share the contents with the poor. The Christmas box was a wooden or clay container where people placed gifts

Christmas boxes were used in many ways and these are just a few that my family have heard of so far:

To Help the Poor:
An "Almes" box was placed in every church on Christmas day. Worshipers would place a gift for the poor of the parish into the box which would then be opened the day after Christmas, hence that day became known as Boxing day.

To Protect Ships:
During the exploration age a Christmas box was used by the sailors as a good luck talisman. It was a small container placed on the shop by a priest while it was still in port, and those crewmen who wanted to ensure a safe return would drop money into the box. It was then sealed and kept on board for the entire voyage. IF the ship came home Safely, the box was handed over to the priest in exchange for the saying of a Mass of thanks for the success of the voyage. The priest would keep the box sealed until Christmas when he would open it to share the contents with the poor.

A Present for the Workers:
Many poorly paid workers were required to work on Christmas Day and so took the following day off to spend with their families. During the 18th century, Lords and Ladies of the Manor would "box" up their leftover food or sometimes gifts and distribute to the tenants who lived on their lands on the day after Christmas.

This tradition still continues today -- it is customary for householders to give small gifts or monetary tips to regular visiting trades' people (milkman, dustman, coal man, paper boy etc) and in some places employers give Christmas bonuses to employees. Schools across Britain gather gifts to be put into Christmas boxes that are sent to poorer countries.

This was taken from our newsletter sent out by the base British Liaison explaining the meaning of boxing day.


  1. Thanks for the great info--I've always wondered about that term. We'll be spending the day catching up and coordinating calendars for the new year.

    Hope you're having a wonderful holiday!

  2. Hi Sparklee,
    It is actually a very quiet day here in the UK. I think it is now just an excuse to have an extra day off work as everything is completely shut down here:)

  3. Hi Anna-Marie,
    I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! I had heard the term Boxing Day before, but never knew what it was about. My first thought was that it had to do with the sport of boxing :) Thanks for teaching me something new again! We opened the crackers on Christmas day and we LOVED them :) I hope to do a post with pictures soon. Thanks again, they were alot of fun :)
    Clicked a vote for you! We got a light dusting of snow here, but nothing to brag about :(

  4. Hi Tracy,
    We had a lovely quiet Christmas. It is hard when you have no family around but it is also very peaceful too:) My husband thought it had something to do with boxing too:). I thought it had something to do with setting out all your Christmas boxes outside for the garbage man to pick up:) so glad your family liked the crackers!
    Have a wonderful last week of the year 2010!

  5. Thanks for the info about Boxing Day. It is a holiday here in Belize and I was about to google it!!

    I just found your blog and am your newest follower:-)

    Alida from Blackpurl's Knitpickings

  6. Alida
    Thanks for following. How nice to be living in Belize:) I haven't been there but would love too. My family loves to travel and learn about new countries and new cultures. Living in Russia must have been interesting too!:)

  7. I read your post yesterday and voted for you, but yet again I forgot to comment. I love your idea of Boxing Day. (Boxes for the garbage man.) Doesn't Canada have a boxing day? I have always connected it with Canada, but I could be wrong. Have a great day, Anna-Marie. I voted for you today too.

  8. Hi Anna-Marie,
    Yep, I like your garage man and boxes comment too :) Clicked a vote for you today and enjoy your last 2010 week too! :)

  9. Hi Lynda,
    I think Canada does have a boxing day! Several countries do:) I wish it did mean boxes for the garbage man my house if full of them and they won't be picked up til next week:(

  10. HI Tracy,
    Thanks and I hope you are having a good last week of 2010. I can't wait to see what 2011 will bring. Did you make any resolutions? I given up on them:)

  11. Glad to find someone else who's heard of Boxing Day! :-) I posted about it on Facebook & most of my friends/family had never heard of it before. I think it's a neat way to refocus on generosity for the kids after a day of receiving gifts.

  12. Hi Kara,
    until we moved here we weren't sure what it was:) Thanks for stopping by and visiting