As a Brit I’ve always had the pleasure of celebrating Boxing Day. Following Christmas Day, it’s a day dedicated as a bank holiday, but historically it was a day in which bosses would hand out gifts to their employees, often in little boxes — hence the term “box.”
However, while this gift-giving dates back to around the 1830s, before then it was a day in which Christians would leave donations in alms boxes to be given to the poor, to commemorate the feast of St. Stephen.
Sadly, today it’s an occasion that often marks the beginning of consumer sales, and many people head straight out to the shops. However, if you move away from consumerism and stick to tradition, it’s a perfect extension of Christmas Day for all of us. Here are just a few Boxing Day traditions you may want to adopt…
Joyfully, there is no cooking. After days of preparing Christmas dinner, Boxing Day is an occasion to use up the many leftovers from Christmas Day. Turkey and stuffing sandwiches are the perfect snack along with any other cold meats and jams. Obviously kids might be inclined to snack away on their chocolate stash!
It’s also a day to focus on the joy of being at home. While children might want to play with their new presents, parents can put their feet up and enjoy a little peace. Boxing Day also provides the perfect opportunity to snuggle up and watch a favorite Christmas movie together or appreciate a board game or two. After weeks of getting Christmas organized, Boxing Day provides busy parents the opportunity to really enjoy their kids — which is possibly the greatest gift you could receive this Christmas.
In the UK, Boxing Day is also dedicated to sports. With all those snacks from the day before, sports fans can munch away and watch their favorite team hopefully score a few goals.
Traditionally, Boxing Day meant visiting family members you hadn’t seen on Christmas Day, or having guests over for snacks and drinks. Even if distances or other factors mean many will just stay put, there’s still an opportunity to meet virtually on Zoom. With fewer Christmas Day distractions it can be a lot more relaxing and give you more time to actually chat.
Time to volunteer
In keeping with the notion of almsgiving, some families might get involved with events in their church to help those in need. While you could go as a family to help a local food bank, you might also consider something like litter-picking. Whatever you choose to do, Boxing Day provides a wonderful opportunity to reflect on giving to others, whether it’s some money, your time, or your prayers.