Sooo, Just What Exactly Is Boxing Day?


Turns out it’s not that kind of boxing. | Source: Shutterstock

You may have noticed that on your calendar, the day after Christmas is marked as “Boxing Day.” Maybe you never gave much thought before to what that might be or maybe you are like me, who for a while thought it was some kind of holiday that celebrated the sport of boxing (it is not). Well as today is Boxing Day, we’re here to help set the record straight.

Boxing Day is a holiday that is celebrated on December 26th across the pond in Great Britain, as well as in some of the Commonwealth countries, including Australia and Canada. Apparently it’s a little fuzzy around how this whole holiday exactly got its start.

One idea is it has to do with how the day after Christmas was when churches would distribute the money they’d collected in boxes to the poor. Another theory is that the name comes from the boxes of gifts that were given from employers to servants typically on the day after Christmas. Indeed, both potential reasons would make sense for the name “boxing.”

According to Time, today Boxing Day is kind of an extra relaxation day that now tends to revolve around shopping and sports (Ed. note: Initially, I’d made mention of the tradition of Boxing Day fox hunts. Even though hunts still gather in Great Britain on Boxing Day, using dogs to kill foxes during fox hunts was outlawed in 2005).

Different countries have their own variations added to the holiday, such as the Junkanoo festival in the Bahamas or how in Ireland, a fake wren is paraded around on St. Stephen’s Day (the feast day of St. Stephen falls on December 26th, so in Ireland that’s the name the holiday goes by).

There you have it – a little bit of Boxing Day trivia cleared up for you! Use your new knowledge to impress your friends and families today, as you continue to enjoy your well-deserved winter break!

Did you know anything about Boxing Day before this? Does your family celebrate Boxing Day? Tell us in the comments!

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  • Lentil soup

    “fox hunts are apparently pretty popular in Great Britain on the holiday” Um, that’s illegal now. We suck, but we have morals

    • Cherri

      And also, we don’t celebrate Boxing Day at all, we just get extra post-Crimbo sales and that’s about it :3

    • Meg Malone

      Hi there — I was basing my initial information on that Time article I linked out to, but after seeing your comment, I did some more investigating. I think I was a little unclear about the particulars of the law, and I’ve made an edit that I hope clears up any confusion that my initial wording may have caused regarding the tradition of holding hunts on Boxing Day in Great Britain. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your feedback!