I wanted to write a really nice post about Boxing Day, but I’m feeling quite tired and a bit lazy. I’d wait until tomorrow but, well, then it wouldn’t be Boxing Day anymore and, as everyone knows, one can only write about Boxing Day on December 26th.
So here is my feeble, but sincere effort to share the meaning and history of this somewhat mysterious holiday:
Few Gift Americans have any inkling that there even is such a thing as Boxing Day, let alone what the reason might be for a holiday so named.[…]
The holiday’s roots can be traced to Britain, where Boxing Day is also known as St. Stephen’s Day. Reduced to the simplest essence, its origins are found in a long-ago practice of giving cash or durable goods to those of the lower classes. Gifts among equals were exchanged on or before Christmas Day, but beneficences to those less fortunate were bestowed the day after.
And that’s about as much as anyone can definitively say about its origin because once you step beyond that point, it’s straight into the quagmire of debated claims and dueling folklorists. Which, by the way, is what we’re about to muddy our boots with.