Boxing Day, the day after Christmas day, got its name from the tradition of giving servants and tradespeople gifts on this day – known as a Christmas box – from their boss or their employer. The day is observed as a bank holiday in most Commonwealth nation, but known by other names too. In South Africa it is called Day of Goodwill, and in Roman Catholic tradition it is known as St. Stephen’s Day. Elsewhere, e.g. in Scandinavia, the day is simply known as the Second Day of Christmas.
These days the term Boxing Day has little of its original meaning left, as very few of us have servants. Instead, the day is becoming one of the big shopping days of the year – when the shops start their sale and Christmas presents are to be returned. This is especially true in north America, but Boxing Day sales are becoming more and more common elsewhere too. In England, the day is primarily known for its sporting events – both Premier League Football, the Scottish PRemiership and the Northern Ireland Premiership have a full program of matches on this day – as do the rugby leagues. It is also an important day in the hunting calendar in the UK and the US, and for Cricket in Australia.
Regardless of where you are – Boxing Day is a day to get out of the house and engage in other activities. In many countries Boxing Day eve is the first evening where it is appropriate to leave family behind and meet up with friends, a much needed break from crowded homes and close families. Have a look at our suggestions and see which you prefer – whatever you do, some air and space may be just what you need to last through the rest of the holiday with all family members intact.
A brisk walk, a slow walk, uphill or indoors in a shopping mall – take your pick. Fresh air and some gentle movement is good not only for your temper but for your body too, following days of rich Christmas foods and drinks.
If you are spending the holidays in snowy parts of the world, put your skis on and head out. Skiing is the perfect holiday activity and is bound to leave you exhausted in a very good way.
Hollywood tend to plan their big releases around Boxing Day – book your family tickets and spend some quality time together without the need for talking. Our best suggestions – The Imitation Game, The Hobbit or The Theory of Everything.
Not for the faint-hearted, but if the shops are open you might want to go have look in the sales and return presents. Many ‘experts’ say you should avoid the beginning of the sales, but they tend to get more crowded later on due to bigger reductions and less family obligations, so you might just be better off going today.
What do you normally do on Boxing Day? Let us know in the comments. We plan to go sledging!