According to marketing firms serving the retail industry in the U.K., Australia, Canada and a few other countries, Boxing Day is now a week. I’ll let countries that are not uber-obesssed with consummation to point the finger at that. I’ll even resist any judgement against the consumerism based on the real meaning of the holiday. That sin is far to universal to get all uppity about. (ALL sin is far too common for any one of us to get uppity about it, in reality.)So I’ve heard about Boxing Day for a few years running and have picked up an idea of what it’s about in passing here and there. I tried to do a bit of research on it on Sunday, assuming that it is always December 26th (the day after Christmas) only to discover that it is the first non-Sunday after Christmas. Technically.
I also discovered that there are different stories of where this holiday originated and what it means. I get the feeling that it has morphed.
The earliest connection is to Saint Stephen–the first famous Christian martyr. There is a Saint Stephen’s Day in honor of him. Apparently, according to the Carol anyhow, King Wenceslaus (who I’ve often called King Worcestershire–not because it’s easier to pronounce or spell, but because it is a word with which I’m more familiar) went out on St. Stephen’s Day and gave out food and other supplies to the poor.
The day became a day on which people give gifts to those who serve them — mail carriers, garbage collectors, etc.
There is also some connection with the traditions of priests to break open the alms boxes in the church on the day after Christmas in order to give the money inside to the poor.
Whatever the variation, early stories all seem to be about giving what you have to meet the basic needs of those who have less. In time, the giving was less out of dire need and more the served giving to the serving.
And according to the ads, it’s now about the haves giving more to themselves so they can stay on the top of the having pile. But I’m getting judgmental. That is not my intent. Or my place.
Boxing Day is not an American holiday and I’m quite certain that I’m not going to get anyone to declare it such just so I can get another day away from the office. I do wonder if it could be an adopted holiday. Maybe one where I glean out of the house all of the perfectly good stuff that goes unused and box it up and haul it to Good Will or let AmVets pick it up on their next rounds.
Or maybe I’ll just dig out my boxing gloves I got for a white elephant a few years ago and go about punching people all day. I’m sure that will go over well. Where are those gloves, anyhow…?