Why Is Boxing Day Called Boxing Day?

Baskets of fun this Boxing Day

Boxing Day, how do you spend it?

Nursing a fuzzy head, reaching for the indigestion tablets, or perhaps taking a brisk walk with friends and family? Whatever you may do, it most likely doesn’t involve any boxes or boxing. So why is Boxing Day called Boxing Day?

Taking place on 26th December Boxing Day is celebrated in many European countries, as well as Canada, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand. But when did it start?

Let us take you back to the Middle Ages when December 26th was the day collection boxes for the poor were opened and distributed to poor people in the area.

During the Victorian times, a December 26th tradition became popular in stately homes. Boxing Day was the day servants were given a gift by their employer (known as a Christmas box). Many were also allowed the day off to celebrate Christmas with their families.

The tradition of giving on Boxing Day was also common before World War II. When tradesmen (such as milkmen and butchers) would head out on December 26th to collect tips on their delivery round… these would be placed in their very own Christmas box.

On The Feast of Stephen

Boxing Day is also known as St. Stephen’s Day. This ill-fated man achieved his saintly status by being the first Christian martyred for his faith shortly after Christ’s crucifixion. You may have heard his name mentioned in the Christmas song Good King Wenceslas?

Boxing Day Traditions Today

Most people spend Boxing Day with friends and family, probably indulging in leftovers from Christmas dinner. However, there remain a few traditions many people still enjoy on Boxing Day today…

Panto Season – Oh No It’s Not… Oh Yes It Is!

Although pantomimes now start earlier in December, they always used to begin on Boxing Day. Whatever you choose to watch, Aladdin, Cinderella, Snow White or Jack and the Beanstalk, there’s nothing better to get you in the festive spirit than a good old panto.

Boxing Day Sales

Every year televisions burst with adverts promoting the Boxing Day sales, with some so appealing that queues form hours before opening. The subject of shops being open on a national holiday can also create quite a stir. To the point that a 2016 a petition lobbied to keep shops closed on Boxing Day. Despite collecting 235,000 signature, it was unsuccessfully received by parliament.

The Boxing Day Traditional Dip

This charity event takes place every December 26th in a number of European locations. With the biggest held at Seaburn beach, Sunderland. Over 1,000 brave souls take the plunge dressed in fancy dress. Quite a brave feat considering the North Sea reaches temperatures of around 9.5C (49F)!

Boxing Day Pram Race

In a small village in Surrey, every Boxing Day, hundreds of residents take part in a very unique race. A 3.5-mile pub run with prams! Participants build extraordinary moving trolleys (known as prams), dress in spectacular costumes, then push their prams around the route to raise money for charity.

If you’re looking to start a Boxing Day tradition, why not take a look at our fabulous selection of hampers? Chocca block with delicious goodies, they make the perfect Christmas box to share with friends and family.


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