Boxing Day

Boxing Day, the day after Christmas is celebrated on December 26 in Great Britain and most countries settled by the British, with the exception of the USA.  Despite its name, Boxing Day has nothing to do with pugilistic competition, though we did fight it out with Taggers down at the field this Boxing day.  Nor is it a day for people to return unwanted Christmas presents.

While the exact origins of the holiday are obscure, it is likely that Boxing Day began in England during the Middle Ages.  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. As time went by, Boxing Day gift giving expanded to include those who had rendered a service during the previous year. This tradition survives today as people give presents to tradesmen, mail carriers, doormen, porters, and others who have helped them. Other historians attribute the nameing to the practice of  opening boxes, placed in churches where parishioners deposited coins for the poor, with the contents of the boxes being distributed on December 26, which is also the Feast of St. Stephen.

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