|Also called||Offering Day|
|Observed by||Commonwealth nations|
|Type||Bank holiday, public holiday|
|Related to||Day of Goodwill|
Saint Stephen's Day (concurrent)
Second Day of Christmastide
Boxing Day is a holiday celebrated after Christmas Day, occurring on the second day of Christmastide (26 December).Though it originated as a holiday to give gifts to the poor, today Boxing Day is primarily known as a shopping holiday. It originated in Great Britain and is celebrated in a number of countries that previously formed part of the British Empire. The attached bank holiday or public holiday may take place on 28 December if necessary to ensure it falls on a weekday. Boxing Day is also concurrent with the Catholic holiday Saint Stephen's Day.
In parts of Europe, such as several regions of Spain,Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, and Ireland, 26 December is Saint Stephen's Day, which is considered the second day of Christmas.
There are competing theories for the origins of the term, none of which is definitive.
The European tradition of giving money and other gifts to those in need, or in service positions, has been dated to the Middle Ages, but the exact origin is unknown; it may reference the alms box placed in the narthex of Christian churches to collect donations for the poor. The tradition may come from a custom in the late Roman/early Christian era wherein alms boxes placed in churches were used to collect special offerings tied to the Feast of Saint Stephen,which, in the Western Christian Churches, falls on the same day as Boxing Day, the second day of Christmastide. On this day, it is customary in some localities for the alms boxes to be opened and distributed to the poor.
The Oxford English Dictionary gives the earliest attestations from Britain in the 1830s, defining 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".
The term "Christmas box" dates back to the 17th century, and among other things meant:
A present or gratuity given at Christmas: in Great Britain, usually confined to gratuities given to those who are supposed to have a vague claim upon the donor for services rendered to him as one of the general public by whom they are employed and paid, or as a customer of their legal employer; the undefined theory being that as they have done offices for this person, for which he has not directly paid them, some direct acknowledgement is becoming at Christmas.
In Britain, it was a custom for tradesmen to collect "Christmas boxes" of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year.This is mentioned in Samuel Pepys' diary entry for 19 December 1663. This custom is linked to an older British tradition where the servants of the wealthy were allowed the next day to visit their families since they would have had to serve their masters on Christmas Day. The employers would give each servant a box to take home containing gifts, bonuses, and sometimes leftover food. Until the late 20th century there continued to be a tradition among many in the UK to give a Christmas gift, usually cash, to vendors, although not on Boxing Day as many would not work on that day.
In South Africa, vendors who normally have little interaction with those they serve are accustomed to knock on the customers' doors to ask for a "Christmas box", being a small cash donation, in the weeks before or after Christmas. This practice has become controversial and some municipalities have banned their staff from asking for Christmas boxes.
In recent years, the day after Christmas Day, 26 December, is termed "Boxing Day" even when this falls on Sunday, though traditionallyMonday 27 December would be Boxing Day. Saint Stephen's Day, a religious holiday, also falls on 26 December.
Unlike the contemporary understanding of Boxing Day itself, the bank holiday or public holiday associated with the observance always falls on a weekday. Where 26 December falls on a Sunday, the Boxing Day substitute holiday always takes place on 28 December. This is because when Boxing Day is a Sunday, Monday 27 December is the substitute holiday for Christmas Day.
In Australia, Boxing Day is a public holiday in all jurisdictions except the state of South Australia, where a public holiday known as Proclamation Day is celebrated on the first weekday after Christmas Day or the Christmas Day holiday.Both the Boxing Day Test cricket match held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race begin on Boxing Day.
In Canada, Boxing Day (French: le Lendemain de Noël) is a federal statutory holiday. Government offices, banks and postal services are closed. In Ontario, and other Canadian provinces, it is a provincial statutory holiday.
In Hong Kong, despite the transfer of sovereignty from the UK to China in 1997, Boxing Day is a general holiday as the first weekday after Christmas.
In Ireland, when the entire island was part of the United Kingdom, the Bank Holidays Act 1871 established the feast day of Saint Stephen as a non-moveable public holiday on 26 December.Following partition in 1920, Northern Ireland reverted to the British name, Boxing Day. In County Donegal, particularly in East Donegal and Inishowen, the day is also popularly known as Boxing Day.
In New Zealand, Boxing Day is a statutory holiday. On these holidays, people who must work receive 1+1⁄2 times their salaries and a day in lieu is provided to employees who work.
In Nigeria, Boxing Day is a public holiday for working people and students. When it falls on a Saturday or Sunday, there is always a holiday on Monday.
In Scotland, Boxing Day has been specified as an additional bank holiday since 1974,by royal proclamation under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971.
In Singapore, Boxing Day was a public holiday for working people and students; when it fell on a Saturday or Sunday, there was a holiday on Monday. However, in recent years this tradition has ceased in Singapore.
In South Africa, the Day of Goodwill, which falls on 26 December, is a public holiday.
In Trinidad and Tobago, Boxing Day is a public holiday.
In the UK, 26 December (unless it is a Sunday) has been a bank holiday since 1871. When 26 December falls on a Saturday, the associated public holiday is on the following Monday. When 26 December falls on a Sunday, the public holiday is the following Tuesday, Monday being the public holiday associated with Christmas Day. The same practice is observed in Canada.
In the British overseas territory of Bermuda, the costumed Gombey dancers perform throughout the mid-Atlantic island on Boxing Day, a tradition believed to date back to the 18th century when slaves were permitted to gather at Christmastime.
In Massachusetts, Governor William F. Weld declared in 1996 that every 26 December is Boxing Day, in response to the efforts of a coalition of British citizens to "transport the English tradition to the United States",but not an employee holiday.
In the UK,Canada, Australia, Trinidad and Tobago, and New Zealand, Boxing Day is primarily known as a shopping holiday. Boxing Day sales are common and shops often allow dramatic price reductions. For many merchants, Boxing Day has become the day of the year with the greatest revenue. In the UK, it was estimated in 2009 that up to 12 million shoppers appeared at the sales (a rise of almost 20% compared to 2008, although this was also affected by the fact that the VAT was about to revert to 17.5% from 1 January, following the temporary reduction to 15%).
Many retailers open very early (typically 5 am or even earlier) and offer doorbuster deals and loss leaders to draw people to their stores. It is not uncommon for long queues to form early in the morning of 26 December, hours before the opening of shops holding the big sales, especially at big-box consumer electronics retailers. Many stores have a limited quantity of big draw or deeply discounted items. Because of the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, many choose to stay at home and avoid the hectic shopping experience. Local media often covers the event, mentioning how early the shoppers began queuing up, and showing video of shoppers queuing and later leaving with their purchased items. Many retailers have implemented practices aimed at managing large numbers of shoppers. They may limit entrances, restrict the number of patrons in a store at a time, provide tickets to people at the head of the queue to guarantee them a hot ticket item, or canvass queued-up shoppers to inform them of inventory limitations.
In some areas of Canada, particularly in Atlantic Canada and parts of Northern Ontario, most retailers are prohibited from opening on Boxing Day, either by provincial law or by municipal bylaw, or by informal agreement among major retailers, in order to provide a day of relaxation following Christmas Day. In these areas, sales otherwise scheduled for 26 December are moved to the 27th.The city council of Greater Sudbury, Ontario, which was the largest city in Canada to maintain this restriction as of the early 2010s, formally repealed its store hours bylaw on 9 December 2014.
While Boxing Day is 26 December, many retailers will run the sales for several days before or after 26 December, often up to New Year's Eve, branding it as "Boxing Week". Notably, in the recession of late 2008, a record number of retailers held early promotions due to a weak economy.In 2009, many retailers with both online and High Street stores launched their online sales on Christmas Eve and their High Street sales on Boxing Day.
In terms of seasonal or holiday shopping traditions, Boxing Day sales have been compared to the U.S. phenomenon of Black Friday sales - Black Friday being the Friday following the American Thanksgiving holiday in late-November. In the late-2000s, when the Canadian and U.S. dollar were near parity, Canadian retailers began to hold Black Friday promotions to attract consumers who would otherwise travel across the border to visit U.S. stores. This may have been a contributory factor, since 2013, in a relative decline of traditional Canadian Boxing Day sales, when compared to sales on Black Friday.
The traditional Boxing Day sales in the UK were never as large an event as the Black Friday sales are in the United States. However, many British retailers began to see an opportunity to import the Black Friday tradition into the UK, not to replace Boxing Day sales, but as an addition to their overall seasonal promotions. However, Black Friday and Boxing Day are close enough together so that spending in one sale was likely to affect spending in the other. Ultimately, the result was a marked decline in traditional Boxing Day sales in the UK. The change was initially facilitated, although not necessarily by design, by the fact that many retailers had American ownership, such as Amazon. This phenomenon was furthered by a general decline in traditional high-street shopping, and a growing online marketplace, which is more internationalist by nature. This led, in 2015, with November retail sales in the UK overtaking sales in December for the first time.In 2019, a retail analysis firm estimated that there was a 9.8% drop in British store traffic on Boxing Day in comparison to 2018 (the largest year-over-year drop since 2010), citing several factors, such as the weather, the increased prominence of online shopping, uncertainties in the wake of the general election, and the growing prominence of Black Friday sales.
Boxing Day sales are not a prominent tradition in the United States, although many retailers often begin after-Christmas sales that day. It is typically the earliest starting day after Christmas for people to return unwanted gifts for exchanges or refunds, and to redeem gift cards.
In the United Kingdom, it is traditional for all top-tier football leagues in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland – the Premier League, the Scottish Premiership, and the NIFL Premiership – and the lower ones, as well as the rugby leagues, to hold a full programme of football matches on Boxing Day. Originally, matches on Boxing Day were played against local rivals to avoid teams and their fans having to travel a long distance to an away game on the day after Christmas Day. Prior to the formation of leagues, a number of traditional rugby union fixtures took place on Boxing Day each year, notably Llanelli v London Welsh and Leicester v The Barbarians.[ citation needed ] The 2022 Premier League Boxing Day fixtures see the return to domestic top flight football for the 2022-23 Premier League season following the six week break from the 2022 FIFA World Cup
In Italy, Boxing Day football was played for the first time in the 2018/19 Serie A season. The experiment was successful, with Italian stadiums 69% full on average – more than any other matchday in December 2018.
In rugby league, festive fixtures were a staple of the traditional winter season. Since the transition to a summer season in the 1990s, no formal fixtures are now arranged on Boxing Day but some clubs, such as Wakefield Trinity, arrange a traditional local derby friendly fixture instead.
In Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, Test cricket matches are played on Boxing Day. For more details see Boxing Day Test.
In Australia, the first day of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne and the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race are on Boxing Day.
In horse racing, there is the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park Racecourse in Surrey, England. It is the second most prestigious chase in Britain, after the Cheltenham Gold Cup. In addition to the prestigious race at Kempton, in Britain, it is usually the day with the highest number of racing meetings of the year, with eight in 2016, in addition to three more in Ireland.In Barbados, the final day of horse racing is held on Boxing Day at The Historic Garrison Savannah, a UNESCO world heritage site. This tradition has been going on for decades in this former British colony.
Boxing Day is one of the main days in the hunting calendar for hunts in the UK and US, with most hunts (both mounted foxhound or harrier packs and foot packs of beagles or bassets) holding meets, often in town or village centres.
Several ice hockey contests are associated with the day. The IIHF World Junior Championship typically begins on 26 December, while the Spengler Cup also begins on 23 December in Davos, Switzerland; the Spengler Cup competition includes HC Davos, Team Canada, and other top European Hockey teams. The National Hockey League traditionally had close to a full slate of games (10 were played in 2011), following the league-wide days off given for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. However, the 2013 collective bargaining agreement (which followed a lock-out) extended the league mandate of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off to include Boxing Day, except when it falls on a Saturday, in which case the league can choose to make 23 December a league-wide off day instead for that year.
In some African Commonwealth nations, particularly Ghana, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania, professional boxing contests are held on Boxing Day. This practice has also been followed for decades in Guyana and Italy.
A notable tradition in Sweden is Annandagsbandy , which formerly marked the start of the bandy season and always draws large crowds. Games traditionally begin at 1:15 pm.
The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami occurred the day after Christmas, and therefore has been referred to as "the Boxing Day Tsunami".
Public holidays in Australia refer to the holidays recognised in law in Australia. Although they are declared on a state and territory basis, they comprise a mixture of nationally celebrated days and holidays exclusive to the individual jurisdictions.
Customs and regulations for shopping hours vary between countries and between cities.
Saint Stephen's Day, also called the Feast of Saint Stephen, is a Christian saint's day to commemorate Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr or protomartyr, celebrated on 26 December in Western Christianity and 27 December in Eastern Christianity. The Eastern Orthodox churches that adhere to the Julian calendar mark Saint Stephen's Day on 27 December according to that calendar, which places it on 9 January of the Gregorian calendar used in secular contexts. In Latin Christian denominations, Saint Stephen's Day marks the second day of Christmastide.
Black Friday is a colloquial term for the Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States. It traditionally marks the start of the Christmas shopping season in the United States. Many stores offer highly promoted sales at discounted prices and often open early, sometimes as early as midnight or even on Thanksgiving. Some stores' sales continue to Monday or for a week.
Public holidays in New Zealand consist of a variety of cultural, national, and religious holidays that are legislated in New Zealand. Workers can get a maximum of 12 public holidays and a minimum of 20 annual leave days a year.
Public holidays in Canada, known as statutory holidays, stat holidays, or simply stats, consist of a variety of cultural, nationalistic, and religious holidays that are legislated in Canada at the federal or provincial and territorial levels. While many of these holidays are honoured and acknowledged nationwide, provincial and territorial legislation varies in regard to which are officially recognized.
Sunday shopping or Sunday trading refers to the ability of retailers to operate stores on Sunday, a day that Christian tradition typically recognises as a day of rest. Rules governing shopping hours, such as Sunday shopping, vary around the world but many countries and subnational jurisdictions continue to ban or restrict Sunday shopping.
The observance of Christmas around the world varies by country. The day of Christmas, and in some cases the day before and the day after, are recognized by many national governments and cultures worldwide, including in areas where Christianity is a minority religion. In some non-Christian areas, periods of former colonial rule introduced the celebration ; in others, Christian minorities or foreign cultural influences have led populations to observe the holiday.
Cyber Monday is a marketing term for e-commerce transactions on the Monday after Thanksgiving in the United States. It was created by retailers to encourage people to shop online. The term was coined by Ellen Davis of the National Retail Federation and Scott Silverman, and made its debut on November 28, 2005, in a Shop.org press release entitled "'Cyber Monday' Quickly Becoming One of the Biggest Online Shopping Days of the Year". Cyber Monday takes place the Monday after Thanksgiving; the date falls between November 26 and December 2, depending on the year.
Christmas creep is a merchandising phenomenon in which merchants and retailers introduce Christmas-themed merchandise or decorations before the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, which in the United States is on the day after Thanksgiving. The term was first used in the mid-1980s.
Boxing Week is a period of six days or more that starts with Boxing Day on December 26 and ends with New Year's Eve on December 31. The term was invented by the retail industry around the mid-2000s as an attempt to extend their Boxing Day sales through much of the Christmas season.
The Bank Holidays Act 1871 established public holidays in addition to those customarily recognised in the United Kingdom.
The Christmas season or the festive season is an annually recurring period recognized in many Western and other countries that is generally considered to run from late November to early January. It is defined as incorporating at least Christmas Day, New Year's Day, and sometimes various other holidays and festivals. It also is associated with a period of shopping which comprises a peak season for the retail sector and a period of sales at the end of the season. Christmas window displays and Christmas tree lighting ceremonies when trees decorated with ornaments and light bulbs are illuminated are traditions in many areas.
Christmas in Ireland is the annual festival which marks the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus and its related observances, but also incorporates some pre-Christian customs. These customs range from the traditional food and drink consumed, decorations and rituals, as well as more modern phenomena such as the Christmas day swim and annual television and radio events. The modern Irish Christmas has become more similar to that of the British and American festive period, with emphasis on gift buying and parties.
Lists of holidays by various categorizations.
Super Saturday or Panic Saturday is the last Saturday before Christmas, a major day of revenue for American retailers, marking the end of the shopping season begins on Black Friday. Super Saturday targets last-minute shoppers. Typically the day is ridden with one-day sales in an effort to accrue more revenue than any other day in the Christmas and holiday season. The date is slightly more likely to fall on December 22, 19, or 17, than on December 21 or 20 (57), and slightly less likely to occur on December 23 or 18 (56).
Cyber Black Friday is a marketing term for the online version of Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving Day in the United States. The term made its debut in a 2009 press release entitled "Black Friday Goes Online for Cyber Black Friday". According to TechCrunch, there was $9 billion in online sales on Cyber Black Friday, which is up 21.6% from 2019. With this, the average cart-size for a shopper was $95.60, and Shopify noted that there was an average of $6.3 million spent per minute across their more than one million merchant platform. A lot of this spending was directed towards technological devices, primarily smart phones. Of the $9 billion is sales, $3.6 billion (40%) was for smart phones. However, Cyber Black Friday is still inferior to its sister, Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is primarily known to offer more discounted items, and is projected to reach sales between $11.2 billion and $13 billion in 2020. On a more promising no†e, Gian Fulgoni of comScore said, "Black Friday, better known as a shopping bonanza in brick-and-mortar retail stores, is increasingly becoming one of the landmark days in the online holiday shopping world." Some Cyber Black Friday sales are short-lived, last through the weekend, into Cyber Monday, and beyond.
Free Shipping Day is a one-day event held annually in mid-December. On the promotional holiday, consumers can shop from both large and small online merchants that offer free shipping with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve.
The economics of Christmas is significant because Christmas is typically a peak selling season for retailers in many nations around the world. Sales increase dramatically as people purchase gifts, decorations, and supplies to celebrate. In the U.S., the "Christmas shopping season" starts as early as October. In Canada, merchants begin advertising campaigns just before Halloween, and step up their marketing following Remembrance Day on 11 November. In the UK and Ireland, the Christmas shopping season starts from mid November, around the time when high street Christmas lights are turned on. In the United States, it has been calculated that a quarter of all personal spending takes place during the Christmas/holiday shopping season. Figures from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that expenditure in department stores nationwide rose from $20.8 billion in November 2004 to $31.9 billion in December 2004, an increase of 54 percent. In other sectors, the pre-Christmas increase in spending was even greater, there being a November–December buying surge of 100 percent in bookstores and 170 percent in jewelry stores. In the same year employment in American retail stores rose from 1.6 million to 1.8 million in the two months leading up to Christmas.
Christmas traditions in New Zealand are similar to those in Australia in that they incorporate a mix of British and North American traditions, such as Christmas symbols featuring winter iconography. However, the timing of Christmas occurring during the Southern Hemisphere's summer season has resulted in the development of some local traditions as a result of the warmer weather. New Zealand Christmas dishes include summer fruits and vegetables, a variety of meats and seafood, and pavlova. The New Zealand Christmas tree, the pōhutukawa, is displayed as well as the traditional Northern European tree.
St. Stephen's Day or Boxing Day: Boxing Day, or Offering Day as it is sometimes called, derives its name from the ancient practice of giving boxes of money at the midwinter holiday season to all those who had given good service throughout the year. Boxing Day, December 26, was the day the boxes were opened. Later, it was the day on which the alms boxes, located in the churches on Christmas Day, were opened and the contents given to the poor.
Yet another legend is that Boxing Day started the tradition of opening the alms boxes placed in churches during the Christmas season. The contents of the alms boxes were then distributed amongst the poor of the parish.