A Happy Boxing Day to All


A bunch of years ago when I was serving a Unitarian Universalist congregation in Arizona the Sunday following Christmas was close enough I thought that I’d preach on Boxing Day. My friend Kellie Walker who was also our music director asked what exactly was Boxing Day? I said beyond some English thing, I didn’t have a clue. She gave me that look and said, “James, what if it turns out its the day the English celebrate forcing the Chinese to buy opium?” (Okay, while I’m putting quotes around that sentence I don’t really remember the words exactly, but close enough…)

Turns out Boxing Day is the day people serving others get small tokens, sort of annual tips.

According to Wikipedia no one knows why its called Boxing Day. It isn’t even clear if there’s any intentional connection to the Feast of St Stephen, which is also observed on the day following Christmas. I suspect not.

In many countries with closer cultural ties to England than we Americans enjoy, Boxing Day has become a major shopping day, taking advantage of big time discounting from merchants. I’m rather shocked we haven’t picked up on at least this aspect in the way nonChristian Japan has embraced Christmas…

It has also been a day associated with Fox hunting and in more recent years protests against Fox hunting.

One of the more healthful aspects of Boxing Day is a tradition of conscious generosity, which is why the carol Good King Wencelslaus is closely associated with the holiday (okay, and the Feast of St Stephen)…

That one I hope we might want to perpetuate.

Perhaps even past the one day…

  • mathyeti

    When I was young in north-east England in the fifties, Christmas day was spent with family, and on Boxing Day we visited my parents’ friends. I don’t remember when the Boxing Day sales started in Canada, it’s like the day after Thanksgiving in the U.S. I actually saw an ad from a car dealer that referred to “Boxing Day Week” (instead of Christmas week?)

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