By Emma Trill on 21 December 2017

It’s a question you may have unanswered, one that may not be overly important but it’s certainly steeped in history. You may have been told that Boxing Day gets its name from discarding the boxes from your Christmas gifts the next day, a boxer’s favourite day of the year or boxing up the wrapping paper for next Christmas. All good guesses, but not quite right - here’s a lowdown on the history…

‘Boxing’ is thought to have come from the giving of Christmas boxes, there’s no real evidence to suggest which act of giving was the original however. This could possibly have been tradition in Middle Ages from Parishioners using ‘Alms (Poor) Boxes’ to collect money from Christmas Day Churchgoers, then open the box the next day (26th) and share the money collected between the poor.

Although Boxing Day is more commonly known around the world as Saint Stephen’s Day, it wasn’t made a Bank Holiday until the Victorian times. The Feast of Saint Stephen was used to commemorate Saint Stephen, and countries around the world celebrate it differently. It was mainly used as a day to help those less fortunate than oneself, which leads us nicely in to…

…Some employers used boxes to thank their staff for their help during the year; the boxes were filled with leftover food from Christmas. The staff were allowed to take the day off to visit their families – bringing the food boxes with them.

Boxing Day is also celebrated in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. These days, Boxing Day more known for the great sporting events that take place, icy lake and sea swims and not to mention the sales that begin! And if you aren’t attending any of those, then Boxing Day is also used to eat up all the leftover food from Christmas Day, and bringing in more nibbles for family and friends to come over and extend that Christmas Day feeling!

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