Every year since I have lived in the USA I have been asked the question, “what is Boxing Day?” by at least one person during the Holiday Season.
This year I thought I’d use this blog to explain.
In Britain, the day after Christmas, also known as St Stephen’s Day, is traditionally the time to extend the excesses of the previous day’s obligatory over consumption of rich food and alcohol, known collectively as “the festivities.”
Being the day after Christmas Day, and living in a society subject to the the law of supply and demand kicking in, it is also the time for the biggest sales of the year as shop keepers try to offload all those items they overstocked for Christmas gift sales that didn’t happen.
The ability to purchase products for 75% or 50% of the price you paid for them only 48 hours previously made hard working people angry and this would often result in a round of fisticuffs in the stores and brawling in the streets, leading to the creation of the term “Boxing Day” as people let of steam. This was often fueled by copious amounts of alcohol that was available at this time of year since 63% of the annual alcohol consumption in Britain occurs over the week between 5pm on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.
So, there you have it – the true meaning of Boxing Day!
In the spirit of fairness I must point out that one conflicting theory still persists that “Boxing Day” refers to parental treatment of ungrateful children who were unhappy with not receiving worthy gifts being subject to a “cuff round the head,” or a “clip round the ear,” or having their “ears boxed,” which are all jovial references to a little seasonal parental abuse, but I don’t ascribe to this analysis.