Join Date: Apr 2005
Total Posts: 4,593
Boxing Day is a holiday celebrated in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. It falls on December 26th, which is also St. Stephen's Day.
St. Stephen was a little known saint who achieved eternal fame by being the first Christian to be martyred for his faith, and he met his death by stoning.
Boxing Day is so called because on this day it was the customary for tradesmen to collect their Christmas boxes or gifts in return for good service throughout the year. Also, it included giving money and other gifts to charitable institutions, and the needy.
The holiday may date from as early as the Middle Ages, but the exact origin is not known. It may have begun with the Lords and Ladies of England, who gave there Christmas boxes/gifts to their servants on December 26, or maybe by priests, who opened the church's alms (charity boxes), and distributed the contents to the poor and needy.
In England, this day has become part of the celebrations, of being with family.
A day to visit other relations, and to have a rest from the day before, to play fun games. Some families, buy a new game each year, but still bring out the old favourites :-)
For some it is good to have the 2 days, as on one of the days you can visit with your parents, and the other day your inlaws :-)
St Stephen is the patron saint of horses, so Boxing Day became associated with horse-racing and hunting. Other sports are also held on this day like football and rugby.
Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day is the Christmas season for us here in England.
I have had so many emails asking me what we eat on this special day, we always have the left over turkey from the day before, but we always prepare fresh vegetables and roast potatoes and all the trimmings.
I know you are all going to ask me what are 'trimmings' :-) well they are things like tiny sausages rolled up in bacon strips, chestnut stuffing for example, also cranberry sauce and bread sauce...a few little extras on the plate to make the dinner special.
It is traditional to have ham, but I do not like ham (my husband does, but he is more than happy to eat another 'Christmas dinner' :-))
Some people have turkey and cranberry sandwiches, we usually have this, but usually on Christmas day in the eveing, if we are still hungry.
It is a good day, to change the pace, have a more relaxing day, especially for the "cooks" in the family. Also a day to have something different to eat, some people have cold ham as the main dish to a cold buffet type meal. This way, putting together a buffet of cold foods, everyone can just help themselves to what they want, and how much they want. Mainly it is a day we try not to cook, as the day before is always very busy in the kitchen, and it is nice not to expect the lady of the house to be in the kitchen on this second day of Christmas, and to spend more time with family and friends.
The postman and dustbin men/refuse men, get their boxing day money on their last delivery day before Christmas starts, not everyone gives them money, some give mincepies, and some people do not give anything, as it is a very old tradition. I have in the past given mince pies... homemade of course :-)
I have also received emails asking me if we give gifts on this day, well I have already explained about money to the needy earlier on this page, but for us in my family I sometimes put a tiny gift into a box as one of our own traditions...I have some pretty Christmas boxes I always use for this.
Also I am asked, what to give people that you visit on this special day, well, possibly a basket with a Pointsettia in, with a big red bow.
And another idea, is take biscuits (cookies) or chocolates or maybe a bottle of wine as a gift, depending on the time of day or event.
Happy Christmas, and I hope you all have a wonderful holiday.
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