‘What Does It Mean’ Monday #7 “Boxing Day”

It’s the day after Christmas, where a good majority of people spend the aftermath of the festive day either shopping it up and trying to get the best bargain, or drinking VBs and turning lobster-red at the cricket with their best-est mates.

So why do Australians call December 26, Boxing Day?

It occurred to me that I did not know, when I discovered just last week that the next Frozen movie was not arriving in our cinemas in late November like the rest of the world. No… we had to wait until Boxing Day.

As I said the words out loud to baby girl, I realised she would be baffled.

“What is boxing day?

Honey I have no clue. But I am going to try find out for you.

Oh, and that is another thing we Aussies tend to get the day after Christmas… the box-office blockbusters.

The term originated in the UK and therefore the story of it lays there, so it comes to reason that several countries part of the British Empire (i.e. Australia) would therefore celebrate the 26th of December.

One popular theory hails from the 1800s, and the Oxford English Dictionary explains it as: “the first weekday after Christmas day, observed as a holiday on which postmen, errand boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas box”. 

It was a day in which the rich gave to the poor, whether it was to those less fortunate, or their own servants. Also servants were deemed to have the day off after Christmas, and went back home to their families with ‘boxed presents.’

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Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

While the exact origin is unknown, the European tradition of giving to those in need dates back to the Middle Ages. And it is one that certainly should not be forgotten. At a time of year when consumerism and spending is rife, we should definitely not forget this time-honoured tradition and try to give what lot, or little we can, to someone in need.

Whatever the reason be, perhaps the most exciting thing for us Aussies is that it’s a public holiday. Spend the day as you will, shopping it up, watching a movie, or going to the cricket. Or something else… how do you spend your Boxing Day?

I can almost guarantee we will be getting Frozen this year… shiver.

Is there a phrase or quote you want me to investigate?

Let me know, and I’ll give it a go!

 

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