Why Do We Celebrate Boxing Day And Why Is It Called That?
Boxing day sale , wooden letters and gift box  on white rustic wooden background

Why Do We Celebrate Boxing Day And Why Is It Called That?

Jasmyne Jeffery December 16, 2022

Everybody loves Boxing Day — unless you work in retail. It’s the calmer of the three Christmas days and there is always plenty of food. Plus, it’s a bank holiday! For as long as anyone can remember we’ve all enjoyed the day, but why do we celebrate Boxing Day and why is it called that?

Boxing Day is a for sitting in front of the telly, eating turkey sandwiches, plenty of chocolates and seeing family you couldn’t fit in the day before. Or, if you’re one of the unlucky ones, you may have to work. Eitherway, the day all means something different to us and we celebrate in our own ways.

Why Is It Called Boxing Day?

The name comes from when the rich used to box up food and other goods to poorer people the day after Christmas. Servants were also granted the day off, taking a ‘Christmas Box’ home so that they could celebrate the festivities with their families. The box would have been a special Christmas gift from their employers.

The name also has a religious connection, where churches would collect money in a box. Throughout the year, churches would take a collection from each service from their attendants. The money was then stored in a collection box and would be opened and counted on Christmas Day. The next day, the money would then be handed out to those who needed it most in the community.

More generally, the day was associated with leaving boxes of gratitude for postmen and other tradesmen who resumed work the first weekday after Christmas Day.

There are lots of reasons why the day got its name, so it’s hard to pinpoint an exact one!

Boxing Day Sale concept. Boxing Day text arranged on a white background. Courtesy of Getty

Why Do We Celebrate Boxing Day?

In lots of regions around the world, Boxing Day is celebrated as being a second Christmas Day. December 26 is known as St Stephen’s Day which is often marked by having another great feast. Saint Stephen is known as one of the first Christian martyrs who was stoned to death in 36AD and so celebrations took place in his honour.

The day is an official public holiday meaning that lots of people are entitled to Boxing Day off work. If the day falls on a weekend, then the day is observed on December 27 or 28.

It’s modern tradition to have a number of football matches on the day. In actual fact, these used to take place on Christmas Day. It’s only since the middle of the 20th century that it was changed to December 26.

Nowadays, many people celebrate by shopping in the Boxing Day sales where many retailers drop their prices after Christmas. Whilst it may be appealing to some, the thought of a warm mince pie and some Christmas films is much more appealing to us!

Despite it having an unusual name and origin, Boxing Day is beloved by so many as another day of celebration. However you’ll be spending the day, maybe get a box of things you no longer want or need. Consider giving it to someone more in need to hark back to the day’s traditional meaning.

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Jasmyne Jeffery is a full-time Entertainment and News Writer on university-themed website Freshered and HITC, and joined the company having previously worked in a freelance role. She attended the University of South Wales where she was also a student blogger and graduated in 2022 with a first-class honours degree in English and Creative Writing. Now, she puts her creativity to use reviewing university bars, Love Island episodes and the latest apps any 18-25-year-old is using.