Portland Walking Tours

What is this “Boxing Day”? Do I need presents?

December 26th, 2012

Happy Boxing Day!

“Boxing Day” is celebrated widely in Europe, Canada, Australia and some other former colonial nations around the old British Empire. Always on December 26, aka the Feast of St. Stephen, the origin of the holiday is a bit murky. But its traditions are clear.

Some say the tradition began out of convenience:  the wealthy celebrated Christmas on December 25, of course, but their servants were too busy cooking, cleaning, attending and horse-driving that they had to wait until the 26th to celebrate with their own families. The masters would give the servants a box of goodies (probably leftovers) on the day after Christmas.

Others say it was a tradition to leave a type of bonus to various practitioners of service trades in a box outside one’s door. The service folk would drop by to pick up their boxes at their leisure on the 26th. (Maybe this begat the tradition of tipping one’s postal carrier or newspaper carrier?)

Others point to a practice in the late Roman era where offerings in the name of St. Stephen were given to the needy on the day of the good saint’s Festivus.

In any event, yes – presents! Presents! Presents! Are there EVER enough presents? (We love presents!)

And parties! Who wouldn’t want to go to a Boxing Day party? There’s always punch left over from pre-holiday parties…

Gifts on Boxing Day tend to be small and either fun or practical, often taking the form of thank-you gifts for Christmas Day largesse or as offerings to the host/hostess of one’s Boxing Day party.

What’s that, you say? You don’t have Boxing Day gifts yet?

We have a suggestion… one you can buy with a quick click and have in your hands in a jiffy.