Why is the day after Christmas called Boxing Day? Meaning behind bank holiday explained


The perfect day for indulging in leftovers galore and all your edible Christmas gifts, Boxing Day’s Bank Holiday is a real treat. Yet, its name often leaves people puzzled, so here’s how the special day got its name

Boxing Day's the perfect time to unwind on the sofa after the chaos of Christmas, but where did the name originate from?
Boxing Day’s the perfect time to unwind on the sofa after the chaos of Christmas, but where did the name originate from?

Binging feel-good films on the sofa, enjoying the last of the Christmas tipples and, even, partaking in a little retail therapy with the sales, Boxing Day is a lawless realm that exists the day after Christmas.

It allows us to extend the magic of the festive season for a day, with little ones getting well and truly stuck into their new gifts, while adults are able to enjoy some time off after the chaos of Christmas Day.

And, it’s also a time sports fans look forward to annually with racing and football to keep you occupied throughout December 26.

However, many wonder how the Bank Holiday got its name and where its origins stem from, so we’ve got everything you need to know.

Why is the day after Christmas called Boxing Day?

Whether you’re indulging in a day of shopping or spending it indulging in leftovers, Boxing Day’s Bank Holiday is a real treat
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Contrary to popular belief, Boxing Day’s name has nothing to do with the sport and it’s also unrelated to returning Christmas gifts in boxes.

Instead, the festive Bank Holiday seemingly got its name from an era when wealthy families would gift tradespeople such as postmen and their servants Christmas ‘boxes’ with presents inside.

This gift exchange was a mark of thanks for their services throughout the year.

It was also the day that their servants would be allowed to go home to their families, while also gifting them Christmas boxes.

And, the day also has religious origins as it is Saint Stephen’s Day in Ireland. To mark it, many enjoy The Feast of Saint Stephen.

How was Boxing Day traditionally marked?

Boxing Day was first marked as a Bank Holiday in 1871, though Scotland only introduced the holiday in 1974.

If Boxing Day falls on a Saturday, people get the Monday after the weekend off. However, in cases like this year, where it falls on a Sunday, people will get the Tuesday off as the Monday is given as a bonus Christmas Bank Holiday.

Christmas Day can be tiring, so choose a selection of your favourite films to watch with the family on Boxing Day

Boxing Day is also a huge day for sport with several football matches taking place on December 26, as well as the King George VI Chase race.

Hunts also traditionally occurred on Boxing Day every year, but the popularity has waned due to the 2004 foxhunting ban due to the cruel nature of the sport.

And for shopaholics, Boxing Day is a time for making the most of post-Christmas price reductions from retailers in the sales.

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www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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