People around the world celebrate Boxing Day on December 26. Although Americans don't recognize Boxing Day as a holiday, people in many other parts of the world, including Canada, New Zealand, Great Britain and Australia, look forward to the day after Christmas each year.
Let's take a look at a few of the theories about the origins of Boxing Day. Historically, service workers, such as maids and drivers, had to work on Christmas.
Employers would give them the day off on December 26 and present them with gifts of money, food and clothing, as a sort of Christmas bonus and token of appreciation. Some say the name “Boxing Day" originated from the practice of putting these gifts in boxes for easier transportation.
Another theory centers on the practice of opening the alms boxes in churches. Clergy placed alms boxes in churches to collect money for the poor during the holiday season. The day after Christmas, they opened the alms boxes and distributed the money to the needy.
Others claim Boxing Day dates back to Victorian-era England. In those days, the poor would go from house to house asking for donations. Compassionate homeowners would fill their boxes with generous donations of food, clothing and gifts.
Though plenty of families and businesses still celebrate Boxing Day by helping the less fortunate, Boxing Day now revolves around celebrating with friends and family.
Although government offices and banks close on Boxing Day, stores remain open. In fact, Boxing Day has become a bit like America's “Black Friday," a popular shopping holiday the day after Thanksgiving.
Many Boxing Day celebrations include a trip to the mall to shop for bargains. Many families also use the holiday as an opportunity to go outside and get some exercise after spending Christmas indoors.