Boxing Day: A Day for Giving Alms to the Poor

A Boxing Day sketch

Boxing Day: A Day for Giving Alms to the Poor

A political cartoon expressing the meaning of Boxing Day
A political cartoon expressing the meaning of Boxing Day

Boxing Day, Dec. 26, is no longer celebrated in most of the United States, although it continues in other English-speaking countries.  (This post is a companion piece to Melina Druga’s WWI Trilogy, Angel of Mercy, Those Left Behind and Adjustment Year, available wherever eBooks are sold.)

The holiday originated as the day when churches distributed alms to the poor.

Its name comes from the tradition of giving Christmas boxes, Christmas gifts or gratuities paid during the holiday season. The name also is derived from the church collection box.

Boxing Day was the day servants were given off for working on Christmas. Servants also were given small gifts, and tradesmen received gifts from their employers.

It also was a day to visit with friends and enjoy ham, holiday leftovers and light lunches. Among the affluent, especially in Britain, it was a day for fox hunting.

The holiday dates from the 1830s, but the tradition of giving servants and employees gifts at Christmas dates back to the 17th century.

Today, Boxing Day is a day for seeking the best after-Christmas sales, making returns and watching sports.

In some nations, it is a federal holiday and can be celebrated on the 27th if the 26th is a Sunday. Employees are given the day off, and those who must work receive holiday pay.

 

The WWI Trilogy by Melina Druga
The WWI Trilogy by Melina Druga: Angel of Mercy, Those Left Behind and Adjustment Year

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Updated:  20 October 2020
Melina Druga
Latest posts by Melina Druga (see all)
Melina Druga is a multi-genre author with a lifelong love of history, books and the English language. She pens historical fiction, chick lit and nonfiction.

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