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Boxing Day

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Boxing Day is a holiday observed in the United Kingdom and in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, and South Africa. In those countries, the day is a bank holiday, or public holiday.

The origin of the term is uncertain. What is certain is the day it is celebrated: December 26.

One story has the day being named after metal boxes that were put outside churches on the day after Christmas, to collect offerings for the Feast of St. Stephen. (This day is still called St. Stephen's Day in some countries.)

The tradition is thought to have started in Britain with employers or landowners giving their workers or staff a "Christmas box" containing food and gifts on the day after Christmas. Servants were often given the day off, so that they could take their Christmas boxes home to their families to enjoy.

As with Christmas, Boxing Day has become a prime shopping day, with retailers offering well-publicized sales, especially of items not sold for Christmas. Some retailers have even taken to expanding the holiday into Boxing Week, ending on New Year's Eve.

December 26 is also celebrated in a few other European countries, where it is named Second Christmas Day.


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