Boxing Day

Have you ever heard of Boxing Day? If so, have you wondered what the heck it is? I know I have. I live in suburban Detroit, which is a stone’s throw from Canada, geographically speaking. For everyone in Canada, as well as the rest of the former British Empire, the day after Christmas is known as Boxing Day. To me, it always sounded like a very violent holiday, after celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace. If any day should be called Boxing Day, it should be Black Friday.

This side of the Detroit River, the day after Christmas used to be the second biggest shopping day of the year. Second only to Black Friday. These days, that title goes to Cyber Monday. When thinking of a non-violent definition of Boxing Day, “boxing up” all of the Christmas gifts you wanted to return came to mind.

Turns out I was way off both times. In the United Kingdom, Boxing Day is traditionally a day off for the servants. It was the day when the master would give the servants their Christmas Presents or “Boxes”. The staff, in turn, would head home and give their families their Christmas Boxes. Think Downton Abbey and you get it.

However, one definition of Boxing Day is from a M*A*S*H episode. In the UK military, it’s the day when officers and enlisted men trade places to have some fun and build morale. To me, it sounds like just another “blow-off day” at work around the holidays. I wonder what they call the day after Boxing Day? Anyway, for all of my family in The Great White North, as well as any readers in the UK, Happy Boxing Day! And Happy New Year as well!

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