Dec 26, 2011

Happy Boxing day!!

Boxing Day, also known as St. Stephen's Day, is celebrated on December 26 - the day after Christmas. It was a way for people to make contributions of cash or goods to those less fortunate. Some say it began with the opening of alms boxes in churches during Christmas season and the contributions were distributed the day after Christmas to the needy.

Boxing Day is celebrated in Canada, England, Australia, and New Zealand. Today many families and businesses donate time, money or services to those individuals or charities who are in need.

It was also the day when the master/mistress would distribute the Christmas Box (a gift or money) to the servants. Once upon a time people like the postman (mailman), refuse collector and milkman would call at the houses they serviced for a Christmas "Box" and woe betide the person who didn't give one. Nowadays we just "tip" the people when we see them.

Boxing Day originated during the Victorian era. Family households would celebrate Christmas on Christmas Day but this meant that their servants had to continue with their normal work and so, in effect, missed out on the celebration. To compensate for this, families would set aside December 26 as the time for their servants' Christmas. Work duties would be dropped to a minimum, with family members assuming some of the responsibilities of the servants, such as keeping the fireplace stocked with coal, greeting visitors themselves and supplying the servants with a good Christmas dinner. The term "Boxing Day" refers to the gift that the family gave to each servant - wrapped in box. Despite the good-will shown to their servants there was no mixed lunch or partying the night away together. Decent families still kept a reasonable distance from their servants.

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