Talk:Boxing Day

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Boxing Day and shopping are two ideas closely connected and even though some people may think that spending money is now a sin we should all remember the quote money makes the world go round.

Earlier comments[edit]

Boxing Day is the first weekday after Christmas Day. This is substantiated in numerous documents, and in perfectly clear language in both the Oxford English Dictionary and also the Merriam Webster Dictionary (the most recent versions of each, and naturally in preceeding versions.) So, referring to several of the comments below, then Boxing Day is not on a fixed date. Decades of tradition and historical data cannot simply be ignored because popular opinion feels like a change.

"In Ireland the 26th is known as St Stephen's Day". This is misleading: As stated correctly in the article Saint Stephen, his feast is on the 26th in the West in general, even in some Lutheran churches.

Certainly St Stephen's day is a fixed date of December 26th. I thought Boxing Day was always the 26th. The origins of the name have a number of Urban legend associated but the tradition of giving to servants is an accepted fact. Because in older days there were no holidays particularly for servants I suggest that Boxing Day is actually a fixed date. Rjstott

Boxing Day itself is on a fixed day, but -- if the 26th is on a weekend -- the public holiday for it occurs on the first working day following the 26th. A bit of a fine distinction, but that's how it works here in Canada, anyway. -- Paul Drye
You are right for the UK also, most people celebrate Boxing Day on December 26 if it falls on a Sunday. Some Christians don't due to the clash with their Sabbath. However, Boxing Day is a secular celebration (as is evidenced by the people who celebrate it), not a Christian one, so I think the general wisdom should win out in terms of dating, I have made a note on the beliefs of Christians in the article.Rje 15:03, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Unless, of course, Christmas and Boxing Day both fall on weekend days - in which case the Boxing Day Holiday is the 2nd day after the weekend (Christmas Day Holiday being the first). Eg. This year's Christmas:
  • Sat Dec 25 (weekend day)
  • Sun Dec 26 (weekend day)
  • Mon Dec 27 (holiday)
  • Tue Dec 28 (holiday)
  • Wed Dec 29
  • Thu Dec 30
  • Fri Dec 31
  • Sat Jan 1 (weekend day)
  • Sun Jan 2 (weekend day)
  • Mon Jan 5 (holiday)
-- Chuq 21:18, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

That's how it is in the UK too. I'll edit the article. -- Derek Ross

I heard it was because, in Victorian times, one spent Christmas with one's family, then went out on Boxing Day to visit one's friends and give them presents. I suppose this explanation somewhat fits with the giving servant's presents one. -- SJK

Ah, User:Jess Cully had it right. In my Commonwealth country (Bermuda), Boxing Day itself is always on the 26th - the day off work associated with it may move to the day following (just as if November 11th - or any other holiday on a fixed calendar day - is on a Sunday, people get the following Monday off), but Boxing Day stays on the day after Christmas. The same seems to be true in the rest (Canada above, and the UK, from Cully's comments). Noel (talk) 12:14, 10 Dec 2004 (UTC)

In English common-law Boxing Day always occurs on a weekday - either the 26th or the 27th - c.f. Bank Holidays Act 1871. This is why when Christmas Day falls on a Saturday the Monday is legally 'Boxing Day' and the Tuesday is legally 'Substitute Bank Holiday in lieu of Christmas Day'. All reference sources I can find [1] [2] state that Boxing Day is the first weekday after Christmas 'not that it is the 26th December. Also see Oxford Dictionary, and for the international angle how about 'Banks And Bank Holidays (Amendment) Bill' of New South Wales? Also 'Holidays Act 1983' of Commonwealth of Australia. As in the UK, if Boxing Day falls on a Saturday, a proclamation is used to make the following Monday a public holiday, but this is not necessary if the 26th is a Sunday as the Monday is actually Boxing Day itself. Calling 26th December 'Boxing Day' when it falls on a Sunday (as per BBC usage in recent times) has been deprecated as being improper and inaccurate.

Would it be fair to include both points of view? To explain that to most commonwealth citizens Boxing Day is the 26th December and would only be understood as such, but legally it is actually the second bank holiday associated with Christmas and as such it is legally defined as the first workday after Christmas day. (talk) 19:51, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Boxing Day and shopping are two ideas closely connected and even though some people may think that spending money is nowadays a sin we should all remember two quotes money makes the world go round the show must go on — Preceding unsigned comment added by Joseggite (talkcontribs) 23:31, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

The first sentence of this page states as a fact what is later discussed as one of several possibilities in the Etymology section... thus giving wrong impression to people skimming the page.

It is misleading to say that Boxing Day is a Bank Holiday in the UK. The legislation that I have seen does not use the term "Boxing Day" - it only refers to days as December 2xth. I don't know whether you will ever settle the argument about whether boxing day can fall on a Sunday, but let's not cloud the issue by claiming that Boxing Day is a legal term. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:44, 15 December 2013 (UTC)

Football or Soccer[edit]

The article makes mention of Boxing Day as a day of sport, and states football and horseracing as the most common. I'm just wondering if football in this context means American football or soccer, since this holiday is observed primarily in places where soccer is called football. I just thought that needs some clarification. :) Cookiecaper 19:42, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Yeah I reckon it means Soccer.
Another thing... The article never explains where the name 'boxing' comes from. Does that relate to the sport of boxing, or what? -- Nojer2 10:04, 18 July 2005 (UTC)
I just added the various origins and explanations Chewxy 04:37, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
It means Soccer, as that's the sport which we know as football in the UK. - JVG 00:07, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

--and most of Europe calls Soccer Football, seems only in America do we differentiate between Football(NFL, College ball) and Soccer (talk) 05:39, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

Canada also distinguishes football (Grey Cup, Vanier Cup, CFL, NFL) from soccer. Other parts of the world have rugby league, rugby union, Aussie rules, which may be football or footie in local speech. Varlaam (talk) 00:05, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

Boxing on Boxing Day[edit]

I don't know if the name Boxing Day has to to with the sport boxing, but when Jack Johnson, USA won the World Heavyweight Championship in Professional Boxing, he won against Tommy Burns, Canada in Sydney, Australia on December 26 1908, on a Boxing Day!

Actually boxing the sport, has nothing to do with boxing day the day after Christmas, the rich would box up gifts for the poor and then hand them out. So the word box refers to the cardboard box (wood at the time) and not the physical activity. (♠Taifarious1♠) 10:24, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

26 December vs First Weekday[edit]

The controversy over whether 26 December is still Boxing Day if it falls on a weekend rages on. No sooner do I put up the UK populist view that Boxing Day is always the 26th, than some advocate of the theory that Boxing Day is the first weekday after Xmas reverts it. I would suggest that if the overwhelming majority of the general public celebrate Boxing Day on 26 December every year, then that has acquired common law status. I have some sympathy with calling Monday 27th December Boxing Day, as that is actually what happened between 1954 and 1993 (though it doesn't happen any more). However, hardly anyone has ever called Monday 28th December Boxing Day. As that position is never, ever likely to win any substantial support base, I suggest that it is futile for its tiny community of supporters to kick against the pricks. Jess Cully 18:11, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

In Australia, the first weekday after Xmas is the Boxing Day holiday (if the 26th falls on a weekend). I'd be inclined to remove the "fact" that Boxing Day itself is the first weekday after Xmas, as almost all sources these days refer to the 26th. If popular usage by reputable sources changes, encyclopaedias are supposed to reflect the change, not stick their fingers in their ears and continue to claim they are right. StuartH 04:33, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
It's been reworded (still needs some rewording). The few significant news sources that I can think of off the top of my head (SMH, ABC and BBC) all refer to Sunday, 26th December 2004 as "Boxing Day", and links have been provided. If the term "Boxing Day Holiday" is widely used, maybe that should be added too. StuartH 05:15, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
Stuart, I think we can safely assume that The Oxford English Dictionary and Encyclopedia Brittanica are much more respected standard-bearers of information than "ABC", and previously mentioned (by someone) the TV Times. As much as you may wish, you can't just pick and choose the bits that you want to believe in. The date of Boxing Day is not a matter of opinion, it's a matter of fact. It's the first weekday after Christmas. JaneDunnie
The point I am trying to make is that every major respected news source defines Boxing Day as the 26th of December, and if you live in a country which celebrates Boxing Day you would be aware that the popular usage overwhelmingly dominates the dictionary definitions. In popular usage, there is a clear distinction between Boxing Day and the Boxing Day holiday - I've never heard anyone say that Christmas falls on the 27th if the 25th is a Saturday. Dictionaries are supposed to reflect the usage of words, not dictate them. StuartH 00:15, 14 September 2005 (UTC)
  • In Canada, Boxing Day is the 26th. Period. Last year, it fell on a Sunday, but all the calendars still showed it as the 26th. Even if the statutory public holiday falls on the 27th or 28th, people still refer to the day after Christmas being Boxing Day. Despite what JaneDunnie states above, Encyclopedia Britannica defines it as the 26th, and further states: "When December 26 comes on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday is designated as the official public holiday." That does not make Boxing Day the first weekday after Christmas -- it's simply a recognition that the statutory holiday may fall on another day than the 26th. As StuartH has brilliantly noted, there is a huge difference between Boxing Day and the statutory holiday -- just as no one says Christmas falls on the 27th (although the statutory holiday might), Boxing Day does not fall on the 27th or 28th (although the statutory holiday might). Skeezix1000 14:40, 21 November 2005 (UTC)
Is there a way that we can achieve consensus on this point, with the verdict either way, so that the article is no longer subject to edit wars back and forth? Skeezix1000 14:40, 21 November 2005 (UTC)
Is it not fair to say that Boxing Day occurs on the 26th December, but the Boxing Day bank holiday occurs on the first weekday after Christmas Day? Interestingly this year we have Christmas Day on Sunday 25th and Boxing Day on Monday 26th, but Christmas Day bank holiday afterwards on Tuesday 27th. David 20:20, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

I think we need to refer to the origins of the holiday to decide. The article mentions the first weekday being a holiday for servants as being one of the most probable origins. If this is true, then it seems resonable that Boxing Day is not fixed, and that it should be the first weekday after Christmas. There again, if its origins lie elsewhere, perhaps there's an arguement for Boxing Day being the 26th and the holiday distinct from it (but often on the same day). As there appears to be no religious reason for Boxing Day, simply a coincidence with St Stephen's day, the servants having to work Christmas and getting the next working day off seems a good bet to me. Therefore, the actual Boxing Day should be the first weekday after Christmas, and always coincide with its holiday. Any preceeding weekend is simply a weekend. That's my twopennyworth, anyway. In response to those above confused about football/soccer, it is the latter to which the article refers. Here in the UK a full fixture programme is played, along with matches at New Year as well, making the Christmas period one of the busiest for soccer.

However, since we are not sure of the origins, we can't be sure what it's traditional date has been so we have to make this clear. In any case, I think we also need to make it abundantly clear that boxing day IS the 26th December now and has been for several decades at least. I have tried my best to do this 16:01, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

I'm Australian, the idea that Boxing Day was anything else than the 26th is one I hadn't previously been aware of. --Paul 14:06, 26 December 2005 (UTC)

Surely the article should record changes in use rather than pick sides in this squabble? There is no doubt that the first weekday after Dec 25th was actually called Boxing Day, at least in England in the past. I can remember seeing it described as such in the Radio Times when I was a child. Why not simply say something to the effect of "At least into the 1960s Boxing Day in England often referred to the first working day after Christmas Day rather than December 26th, but this usage (while still defended by some) is now uncommon." That at least would be a factual statement and could be genuinely useful to someone who comes across a reference to December 27th as Boxing Day who would find the wikipedia article no help in explaining the issue.

StuartH is correct. In Australia Boxing Day is always the 26th December even though the associated public holiday may not be the same day. The same holds true for all public holidays here, it would be like saying that Xmas Day is not the 25th December or that Anzac Day is not the 25th April because the associated public holidays do not fall on these days. Boxing Day is always shown as 26th December on calendars here even though the Boxing Day holiday may be shown as a different day. Swampy (talk) 15:42, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
Oh, & a note to JaneDunnie, the Cambridge Encyclopedia has this to say "Boxing Day - Date of Boxing Day: In the UK and the Commonwealth, the day after Christmas Day…" & "Boxing Day refers to both the day after Christmas, December 26th, and the Public Holiday which follows Christmas Day, should the 26th fall on a weekend." & "In common usage, when 26 December falls on a Sunday, this is now referred to as Boxing Day despite Boxing Day officially occurring on the 27 December."

So if even the various dictionaries & encyclopaedias cannot get the date straight I think the sensible option would be to fall back to the accepted common usage that Boxing Day is the day after Xmas, the 26th December. Swampy (talk) 15:53, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

Boxing Day "the tradition" (and not a holiday) is December 26th, the day immediately following Christmas. The UK Bank Holiday which bears the same name may be Dec 26, or substituted by 27 or 28. As the UK government writes: "When the usual date of a bank or public holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, a 'substitute day' is given, normally the following Monday. For example in 2009, Boxing Day is actually on Saturday, 26 December, so there is a substitute bank holiday on Monday, 28 December." See [1] (talk) 04:49, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Yes, but what is it all about?[edit]

This article says next to nothing about how the day is typically celebrated (or if it even is) and what generally is associated with the day. I see a lot about the origins and why it's called Boxing Day, but I'd really like to know how Boxing Day in the 21st century is handled. Thanks in advance! :) Girolamo Savonarola 03:04, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

It's simply that in Britain and a few other countries, Christmas is a 2-day holiday event (though it's fast becoming at least a week). After the feasting of Christmas Day most people eat cold cuts and visit family. Few people cook. Mainly they stay in and watch football on the telly nursing a hangover. It's also the day when many families hold some sort of family party in the evening.

My British friend told me boxing day was the day when you make sure you kept the box from the gifts you didn't much like, so you can return them. I guess he was pulling my leg, eh?
I don't know if it's 'traditional' or even a common practice but in my personal experience (my family and my friends families) boxing day is a day to visit friends and family you didn't see on Christmas. Food is typically left overs from christmas - cold turkey and salad (or pickles and preserves in my boyfriends family), christmas cake/pudding ect. Essentially a 2nd Christmas with different people.
As the article mentions it's also a big day for shopping (first of the 'January' sales) and for many shops the biggest returns day of the year as everyone swaps unwanted christmas presents. Danikat (talk) 14:52, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
The whole shopping part is a bit of a mess featuring all sorts of wild generalisations, for example where did the 5am number get plucked from? Also some retailers don't accept returns until later in the month either. ( See the gift receipt part from ) (talk) 10:27, 27 December 2013 (UTC)


I have removed the Tsunami from 'events that occur on Boxing day' as IMHO that title implies an event that commonly occurs on boxing day, NOT a historic event/disaster that occured on boxing day... Nil Einne 15:59, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

I agree - this is a lame ass wikipedia article since it doesn't really say what boxing day is except that it's a holiday. i think i'm gonna make some edits here...

Would it make sense to have a "Notable Boxing Days" and list the 2005 tsunami amongst other historical Boxing Day events? ProfessorTom (talk) 18:48, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

Redundancy removed[edit]

RANT:It appears that someone or more then one person has added origin stories, either to the introduction or the main article without bothering to read the article and therefore failed to realise that origin stories were already included in the main article or the introduction and therefore we were left with 2 sets of origin stories.

Anyway, since the origin stories in the main article appeared more complete, I have completely removed the origin stories from the introduction and moved anything I felt necessary to the main article. The lines I removed were as below:

There is much dispute over the true origins of Boxing Day, but one common story of the holiday's origins is that servants and tradesmen received Christmas gifts from their employers on the first weekday after Christmas, the day after the family celebrations. These were generally called their "Christmas boxes." Another story is that this is the day that priests broke open the collection boxes and distributed the money to the poor. Another story is that Boxing Day is when all the Christmas decorations go back in their boxes to await next year's festivities.
If we are talking tradition, a traditional "twelve days of Christmas" lasts until twelth night (Jan 5/6), so there would be no thought of taking Christmas decorations down on Boxing Day. (talk) 20:28, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps there is some merit to mentioning the origin story controversy in the introduction but I couldn't be bothered doing it. Rant again, we really wouldn't keep having these kinds of problems if people would actually briefly go through an article before being trigger happy and dumping stuff all over the place, it's not as if this is even a long article! Nil Einne 16:18, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

Marxist historians?[edit]

I question this article's impartiality with respect to "Marxist historians." Here is the offending paragraph, with emphasis added:

Marxist historians find evidence for "perpetuation of class difference" theory in what superficially seems to be Boxing Day's one direction of giving--i.e., from the rich lords to the poor croppers. They are right in observing that equality and respect are only found if there is a proper exchange of gifts. Looking only at quantifiable material value, they are right in finding inequality between the lords and peasants and justified in seeing reactionary and class-repressive origins for Boxing Day.

Does calling Marxist historians "right" in their interpretations make this article partial to that view? I don't see the conclusions as "right" at all. "Proper exchange of gifts"? What about exchanging a year's service for food, shelter, wages, and a year-end bonus? Maybe the flaw is in "looking only at quantifiable material value"; why confine your comparison so narrowly?

Canadian Boxing Day Sales[edit]

Correct me if I'm wrong but, atleast in Nova Scotia we can't have our store open on Boxing day because its a Holiday. So really our Boxing Day sales are on the 27th.

In the UK most stores now open on the 26th but some department stores (like John Lewis) do not start there sales until the 27th like traditionally Someguyonearth

IN New Zealand, all stores are open on Boxing Day, and it is one of the most profitible days of the year dur to the massive savings people make when businesses offer large boxing day discounts its kind of a tradition to have boxing day sales in NZ, but in other countries im not too sure about. (♠Taifarious1♠) 10:27, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Why not in the US?[edit]

It would be nice to have some info as to why the day is not known or celebrated in the US. Since most of the examples of origin pre-date the US, it seems that the holiday would have carried over. The reference to the NA observence of Boxing Day including retail discounts in the US is a recent occurence, I beleive, and doesn't have anything to do with Boxing Day so much as it just being the day after Christmas.

If I had to speculate, I would say because some of the activities once associated with Boxing Day--such as hunting foxes and giving food to servants--did not translate into life in the New World. You're right about the retail slashing being more of a coincidence than a genuine Boxing Day celebration, but in Canada, Boxing Day is observed as Boxing Day, and so all the price-cutting festivities become properly known as "Boxing Day sales". That's really the only significance the day has anywhere in the United States or Canada; the only difference is Canadians call it "Boxing Day" and Americans call it "the day after Christmas".

Perhaps it's not celebrated in the US because many of us don't know boxing day exists. I only found out the other day, via a family member, and in confronting a lot of my friends, they didn't know about the holiday either. Along with learning about the holiday itself, I was also told it's a day in Canada where people box up little cakes they made and give it to their friends... so I looked it up here to see what else is involved. Nothing about cake. Go figure. (talk) 18:42, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

My personal experience is that Boxing Day is universally observed in the USA, by small business owners (including machine shops and other light industry). If you've ever worked in an industrial park or small retail establishment, you must know that lots of people make deliveries to your place of business. The mail carrier, the UPS and FedEx people, the people who deliver supplies. All of them get a box on boxing day. The box usually contains a fifth of Scotch. Zyxwv99 (talk) 16:41, 26 December 2011 (UTC)
Zyxwv99 sounds like a prankster. Stating that "Boxing Day is universally observed in the USA" is a bold statement. It's also wrong. No normal Americans in the US observe Boxing Day. This is plainly silly. Americans have nothing to do with Boxing Day. Most of them haven't even heard of it except to recall that calendars for some reason note "Boxing Day (Canada)" in the square for December 26th. It isn't a public or federal holiday the US. -- NoahSpurrier (talk) 06:31, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

I would like to know more about the citation in the article of Boxing day being observed by businesses in the US by giving gifts to delivery people. Its true that most businesses are closed the day after Christmas in the US, not for Boxing day esp. but just as an extension of the Christmas holiday. I note the citation but I've never heard of that practice. Seems odd as most business are closed the day after Christmas so there are no deliveriers. Gifts to mail carriers and staff (door men, maids, etc) are usally given the last working day before Christmas as people are not at work or out of town frequently during the holiday. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:53, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

You're thinking of retail businesses. About 30 years ago I read an article in a business magazine that said about 10 million small businesses in the USA sell primarily to the government and Fortune 500 companies. Machine shops, for example. In the business park I noted (below) there was a machine shop that made parts for the space shuttle: the honeycomb structure between the inner and outer hull. Those kinds of businesses don't take extended vacations. Zyxwv99 (talk) 23:12, 26 December 2011 (UTC)
I just added another reference, plus a Wikilink to International Business Times. Zyxwv99 (talk) 00:02, 27 December 2011 (UTC)


If the "Great Jason Lawson Capitan" doesn't have his(?) own entry, can inclusion here really be justified?

Germany countries?[edit]

The line "In many Germany countries it is also a holiday" doesn't make sense to me. Should it perhaps read "German-speaking countries" or "Germanic countries"?

I think this was just part of some vandalism that i've now tried to roll-back.... Petesmiles 07:19, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Hey, the languages were screwed up and for instance, made it look like the Swedish (or Norwegian) name was "in the Netherlands" and then proceeded to have "Tweede Kerstdag" as Norway... so I changed stuff around and I recognise most of these languages so I think I have the names right, except the Sweden/Norway one. Any Swedes or Norwegians want to check this? I know the German, Dutch, Finnish ones are with the right countries and the Iceland one looks lke Icelandic to me, so... also removed the constant references to the words meaning "Second (day of) Christmas" because that's already stated in the beginning of the paragraph. 19:58, 24 December 2006 (UTC)

Scotland etc.[edit]

Boxing Day is NOT a public holiday Scotland - I;m not sure about otehr countries, but clearly the global reference to British Commonwealth is wrong.

Johnbibby 06:36, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure how to fix this since the entire article is built around the entire commenwealth observing Boxing Day. I'll work on it though. I'll also try to do some research to the true case. --Flying Canuck 20:41, 27 December 2006 (UTC)
Could it be that Scotland still observes it it is just not an offical government recognised holiday? I think that countries should be included even if the government does not make a statutory holiday. (Such as Chinese New Year in Canada, still recognised but not a stat holiday) --Flying Canuck 20:55, 27 December 2006 (UTC)
It is a bank holiday in Scotland though, and public or local holidays in Scotland are determined by local authorities. Exatco 11:53, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Indeed. A bank holiday in Scotland is not necessarily a public/local holiday. The use of 'Britain'/'UK', instead of 'England', in this article is often wrong, in that many of the references do not apply to Scotland. e.g: the tradition of Christmas boxes - in Scotland, tradesmen, postmen etc. were/ are given gifts at New Year, historically on the holiday Monday after New Year called Auld Handsel Monday, not at Christmas. Christmas was not a public holiday in Scotland until after WWII; Boxing Day may be a 'bank holiday', but it is not a public holiday. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:47, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

Current Event[edit]

Sorry, I don't see how this is a current event. Just because it is Boxing Day it does not mean the article will change unless anything major and out of the ordinary happens. I thought current event tags were for articles about an actual event. (Such as terriost attacks, trials, elections) while they were occuring. If no one objects I will remove the tag later today. --Flying Canuck 17:55, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

How 'bout that, you are right :)

Proclamation Day[edit]

I just added in the Australian section that 26 December is celebrated as Proclamation Day in the Australian state of South Australia. 05:00, 29 December 2006 (UTC)An Anonymous Aussie (AAA). —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 04:59, 29 December 2006 (UTC).

Boxing Day in The British Army[edit]

In the 'Trivia' section of the main article, it mentions an episode of M*A*S*H* where the day was marked by the officers serving the enlisted men in the mess tent. This is, I believe, a still-observed tradition in the British Army as well. (In fact I think it happened in the programme after the characters in the 4077th bumped into a British soldier, who gave them the idea.)

Given that the staffing in so many messes has now been civilianised, the swap may no longer happen on major bases, but I seem to remember reading a (relatively recent) article which stated it happened on operational deployments, because these camps still use 'service' cooks.

Can anyone confirm whether the officers & soldiers role-reversal is still current for the British?

Aaron88.109.193.9 20:35, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

Church Moved the Feast of St Stephen to August 3[edit]

Small Text The modern church moved the feast of St Stepehen to August 3. Therefore, it is not technically correct to refer to December 26 as the feast of St Stephen anymore.

Has this change actually been recognized other than in church calendars? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 20:27, 6 January 2007 (UTC).

3 August is the date of the Invention of St. Stephen, that is, a commemoration of the "discovery" of his tomb in 415. The Western liturgical tradition (Roman, Anglican, Lutheran) still observes 26 December as his "day"; the Eastern tradition, the day after.Janko (talk)Janko

European Countries[edit]

In the section European Countries, a reference is made to Catalonia which is only a region of Spain (as there are many others such as Galicia, Valencia, Basque Country, Asturias, etc...). Therefore, it doesn't fit into the European Countries section. On top of that, if a reference to Catalonia is made, examples of other spanish regions should be given as well (for example in Galicia the day is known as San Estevo). —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 08:47, 12 January 2007 (UTC).

Date of Boxing Day[edit]

Surely Boxing Day is 26 December pure and simple, no matter what day of the week it falls on? It certainly is in popular usage. Boxing Day is simply the traditional name for the day after Christmas in many English-speaking countries. It should be separated from the bank holiday, which is called the Boxing Day bank holiday because it usually coincides with Boxing Day. Or are you saying that when 1st January falls on a Saturday, the 3rd January is New Year's Day, simply because that is when the New Year bank holiday would be held? This is a nonsense, surely?--Triglyph2 11:23, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

It's not simple as all - frankly the whole thing is messy. I remember in 1993 even the Radio Times and TV Times (and presumably therefore the BBC and ITV) were in disagreement, with one listing the 26th as "Boxing Day" and the other the 27th. At the time I had an argument with my grandmother over just which day was the Bank Holiday as the convention I was used to clashed with the one she was. (1993 saw the first Sunday December 26th since 1982 - it may not be a coincidence that after a decade of the issue never coming up people just assumed "Boxing Day is the 26th". A lot of things have taken root in popular perception has "having always been that way" over much shorter periods of time.)
It's true most festivals with bank holidays are fixed even if the bank holiday itself moves, but not all are - May Day can refer to either May 1 or to the bank holiday on the first Monday in May.
However current popular usage is certainly for December 26th. Timrollpickering 14:30, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
From 1954 to 1982 the Radio Times and TV Times called Sunday 26 December Christmas Sunday and Monday 27 December Boxing Day. In 1993, as the second poster above mentions, only one of them was still maintaining this, and by 1999 the idea of Boxing Day always being the 26th even on a Sunday had triumphed, among everyone I know as well as in both Radio Times and TV Times. Jess Cully (talk) 18:21, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Triglyph: Boxing Day is St Stephen's Day. In most years it happens to be a bank holiday as well, but in England, at least, moving the bank holiday doesn't move Boxing Day. Christopher Evans

The only non wikipedia referance I have seen to Boxing Day being on a different day in in Mr Bean's Diary (1992). Bean noticed that Boxing day was on the 28th in 92 and he also noticed that it was on the 27th in 93. I am too young to remember Boxing Day being on a different day so does anyone have any non Wikipedia referances? (Tk420 (talk) 17:53, 12 December 2009 (UTC)) (talk) 20:18, 30 December 2010 (UTC) I've been looking in the London Gazette for the royal proclamations that declare Bank Holidays in addition to the statutory ones, or move ones that fall on Saturday or Sunday to a weekday. None of the ones I've looked at use the term Boxing day (sensibly). Searching the gazette for Boxing Day yielded up several documents (covering workers wages (1920s) and car park charges) that use the term "Boxing Day" without explanation, as if it were widely understood / agreed.

Cardboard or Wooden?[edit]

According to Wikipaedia cardboard boxes were invented in 1817. I would have thought that for some time these were expensive novelties. A lord with 1500 estate workers would be most unlikely to contemplate giving his staff their christmas bonus in a cardboard box. So wooden boxes - even more unlikely. With either of these boxes some surely would have survived and we'd be finding them in antique shops but no.. The most likely origin is the Pagan ceremony with the wren. This wasn't limited to England but took place throughout Europe and of course was not Christian but was not secular either. Hamishmillermaccoll 02:51, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

Why all the non-boxing-day stuff?[edit]

If Germany, Ireland, other European countries, etc. don't actually have Boxing Day, why are we talking about what they do on Dec 26 in this article? Surely all that sort of information should be in the December 26 or the St. Stephen's Day articles? Similarly for the information under "International". j-beda 05:35, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

In keeping with Wiki style and rules...[edit]

I've removed this entry under the Canada explanation:

In addition to the retail aspect of the holiday, Boxing Day also serves, in English-speaking parts of the country, as a second day for families to gather for dinner and to exchange gifts. Boxing Day dinner is, in many ways, just as much a part of many families traditions as Christmas dinner itself.

I took this out, primarily, because it's a matter of the author's opinion of what happens on Boxing Day in Canada, and is not appropriate to have entered in this entry. Toropop (talk) 21:10, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

South Africa[edit]

The SA section here says that the change to Day of Goodwill happened with the "new political dispensation", but the Day of Goodwill article itself gives 1980 as the date. Which is correct? Loganberry (Talk) 23:29, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

First mention of "Boxing Day"?[edit]

I find it hard to believe that Boxing Day can be dated to before the 19th century, as this article implies. It seems that it was simply the Feast of St Stephen, as it is in almost every other European country. Does anybody have any evidence for the name "Boxing Day" in medieval times, or indeed before the 19th century? It seems that people are retrospectively imposing the name on what really was the Feast of St Stephen to English people. Dunlavin Green (talk) 11:21, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

Origins of Boxing Day[edit]

Boxing Day was a pre-Christian celebration of the return of the light, the start of the new year, with daylight hours lengthening again following the shortest day of the year, December 21. Dates by our calendar are not particularly important. Boxing Day was traditionally the day following the shortest day of the year. Like other pre-Christian holidays it was subsumed into the Christian holiday calendar. The name "Boxing Day" initially referred to the evergreen shrub named "box". People would cut small branches from this shrub, and parade them around in celebration of the light, of eternal life, hence the use of an evergreen (ref. Festival of Lights). There could be some connection here with the use of evergreen trees for Christmas, but I have no personal knowledge of that. While Boxing Day later became a time for sharing goods and gifts with the less fortunate, without this reference to its earliest origins the article misses or glosses over a very important and basic feature of the holiday. Jamie T. 00:40, 30 December 2008 (UTC)—Preceding unsigned comment added by Gonenative1001 (talkcontribs) 20:01, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

This is plausible. Certainly, cut evergreens are a common part of mid-winter festivals around the world. If anyone can produce a decent reference for this etymology it ought to be added to the other possible etymologies. Azkm (talk) 11:53, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

I don't think the picture[edit]

should be of people queuing for a sale. I mean, Boxing Day may be commercialised, just as all festivals. But the main pictures for the Christmas, Halloween articles have relevant images. To me, a picture of people going to a football match would be much more appropriate, or maybe a picture of some people having a nice meal with their families. More representative. Most people don't live their lives around shopping schedules. —Preceding unsigned comment added by OperationOverlord (talkcontribs) 05:25, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

Depends where you live, I guess. In Canada, Boxing Day is a day where stores put on big sales, and nothing more. -- (talk) 07:00, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

Another challenge on origin[edit]

I challenge this sentence:

The name 'Boxing Day' originates from the tradition of putting gifts in boxes for the less fortunate.

I'm firmly of the opinion that the expression "christmas box" simply means a cash handout, and has only a vague relationship with the literal meaning of a box. As I was taught in upper-middle class England, the day after Christmas was the day tradesmen and servants went to the front door of the Manor to collect their cash bonus. Even today, tips given to tradesmen such as waste collectors and milkmen are called christmas boxes in many English families. --El Ingles (talk) 17:07, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

I agree. If you look at the reference it talks about a Christmas box, and the subsequent description makes it clear that the 'box' in question is not a gift or even a physical box, but money. Any objections to changing it? Madgenberyl (talk) 22:09, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

Commercial calendars[edit]

I have noticed that commercial calendars do not list Boxing Day as a bank holiday. In addition, Argos (UK retailer) are now forcing employees to work on this holiday.[2] If Boxing Day is a bank holiday, how can this be so? Dynablaster (talk) 16:02, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

Why should it not be so? There is no restriction on any commercial organisation makings its employees work on a Bank Holiday, unless it specifically says in their contract of employment that they do not need to do so. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:02, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

References to "Black Friday"[edit]

This article contained a couple of references to Black Friday in the U.S. after Thanksgiving. This is a) not in any way Boxing Day related and b) contributes to make the style of this article appear to be that of an American textbook discussing the strange practices of far-flung places (notwithstanding this includes Canada and may other countries). On the basis that this article discusses a non-US holiday and should therefore reflect a non-US perspective I have removed these references; especially as they are of absolutely no interest to anyone outside the US.

US Thanksgiving is identical to many countries' Christmases. And Black Friday is identical, apparently, to Boxing Day in some countries. This is noteworthy and as interesting as anything else in the article. Just because Boxing Day is not a US holiday doesn't mean that the US should be excluded even if it can be reasonably included. (talk) 14:10, 17 June 2010 (UTC)


Just put a request for citations in the Etymology section of this article. I find it tenuous in the extreme that Boxing Day originated in Anglo-Saxon England. There is no evidence of "Boxing Day" prior to the 19th century; the day after Christmas was always named St Stephen's Day, just as it still is across Europe. (talk) 18:33, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

The whole "Etymology" section has only one of the four paragraphs devoted to etymology. Someone (me included) needs to get around to finding a home for the other three paragraphs.--Rfsmit (talk) 21:47, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

Regarding this sentence: "The alms-giving tradition has always been closely associated with the Christmas season — hence the canned-food drives and Salvation Army Santas that pepper our neighborhoods during the winter — but King Wenceslas' good deed came the day after Christmas, when the English poor received most of their charity."

I realize this sentence has been cited from a TIMES article, but it should be converted into a more encyclopedic statement. In my opinion, of course. (talk) 01:41, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

The first paragraph of this section is now a confused ungrammatical mess. Can somebody rewrite it please? --Ef80 (talk) 01:25, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

The Etymology" section should be broken up into two sections: Etymology and History Zyxwv99 (talk) 00:37, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
I've found some sources for a synomym: Christmas-box Day. Even though these sources suggest that the term is older and perhaps the original form, there's a problem with this theory: when you search for it in Google Books and filter for 19th century, you don't get many hits. For the 18th century, you don't get any at all. This suggests that Christmas-box Day may have been a back-formation accompanied by folk etymology. SOURCES: [3] [4] [5] [6] Zyxwv99 (talk) 02:09, 29 December 2011 (UTC)


The Etymology section should be rewritten. It says, "The exact etymology of the term "Boxing" is unclear, with several competing theories, none of which is [sic] clearly true." The very next paragraph goes onto explain, "In fact, the name derives from an old English tradition. In gratitude of servants..." Seems kind of contradictory. -- (talk) 23:48, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

the third recurring Sunday of each month, until one such passes of equal significance[edit]


Boxing Day is a secular holiday but is always on 26 December: the public holiday is generally moved to the following Monday if 26 December is a Saturday or Sunday; for example if Christmas Day is a Friday, Boxing Day will be the following Monday. And if it falls on a Saturday, the Boxing day will occur on the third recurring Sunday of each month, until one such passes of equal significance. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gillen1951 (talkcontribs) 18:06, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

Continental Europe[edit]

This article is fundamentally about what goes in the Commonwealth. But then it has a little bit of European tradition piggybacked onto that.
Europe should just have its own article, especially if the name "Boxing Day" does not even apply.
Varlaam (talk) 00:12, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

Most Stores Closed In Northern Ontario? No.[edit]

As far as I know, only Sudbury as a bylaw that keeps stores closed on Boxing Day (in Northern Ontario). So you could either type Sudbury, or just not include Northern Ontario, as Noth Bay, Sault St Marie, Timmins, Thunder Bay etc all keep their stores open. THere was a question on the Sault municipal ballot about this, and the majority of people wanted stores closed, but the results were not binding because only 47% of people voted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:01, 1 December 2010 (UTC)


Boxing day is not known under this name in Romania - the fact that the 2'nd Christmas day is an official holiday is not related to any separate celebration being held this day - it was just a decision to have 2 not working days on Christmas, like 1 and 2 January are also official holidays. tudor_t (talk) 08:07, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

26 December[edit] (talk) 16:38, 30 December 2010 (UTC) In the UK, the 1871 Act (superseded by the 1971 Act) says that Dec 26 is a bank holiday unless it falls on a Sunday, and that Dec 27 is a bank holiday if 26th falls on a Sunday. It doesn't say anything about Boxing Day, or about Dec 26 falling on a Saturday.

Evidence that Boxing Day does not fall on a Sunday (UK)[edit]

"10. For the purpose of the application of the above differential rates of wages for overtime employment, the Herefordshire Agricultural Wages Committee have by Order dated llth April, 1932, denned tie following employment as the employment which is to be treated as overtime employment: — (a) In the case of male workers of 21 years of age and over, employed wholly or mainly as bailiffs, waggoners, stockmen or shepherds: — (i) All employment on Boxing Day and Good Friday. (ii) All employment in excess of 60 hours in any week (including Sunday but excluding Boxing Day and Good Friday)."


Now - if Boxing Day could fall on a Sunday, then how could the 60 hours include Sunday but exclude Boxing Day? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:55, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

No you're misreading this. It's saying that Sundays count as a day for counting regular work within the 60 hours in a given week (implicitly unless otherwise qualified) but Boxing Day and Good Friday are days specifically exempt and constitute overtime. From memory the precise holiday status of Good Friday has always been a bit confused and Boxing Day may have suffered the same confusion in this era so the order is explicitly exempting both days. It is not saying that Boxing Day cannot be a Sunday. It's fairly standard for such regulations to explicitly define one set of something to be included and then to define another that is excluded in all circumstances, and to be worded in this way. Timrollpickering (talk) 01:13, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Removed overly dramatic wording.[edit]

In the shopping section it said:

Once inside, the shoppers often rush and grab, trashing and pillaging as they go, as many stores have a limited quantity of big draw or deeply discounted items.

The citation was: . The cited source (CTV, a Canadian news agency) says *nothing* about this kind of behaviour. I removed the first bit about rushing, grabbing, trashing, and pillaging, and left the bit about limited quantities.

Jthechemist (talk) 03:14, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Source problem[edit]

There is a portion in this article stating the following:

"The Boxing Day sales have the potential for customer stampedes, injuries and even fatalities.[7]"

However, the source it links to is not only a dead link, but is an article regarding Black Friday, titled "Worker dies at Long Island Wal-Mart after being trampled in Black Friday stampede". Although Boxing Day in Canada resembles Black Friday in the US, I do not really think the violence that happens on Black Friday is relevant to potential violence on Boxing Day. Consequently, I believe either the article on Wikipedia should be edited, or a source relevant to Boxing Day should be found.


Latiass (talk) 23:39, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

Fifth of Scotch[edit]

The article says that in the US buisness owners typically give a fifth of scotch to the people that do deliveries for them. Really? I have never heard of that! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:57, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

Yes, that statement in the article with regards to the so-called "day after Christmas" tradition, is complete rubbish. The only time December 26th takes on any significant national meaning in the United States is in a year such as 2011, when Christmas falls on a Sunday, so December 26th is when the federal holiday is observed (government offices closed, no postal delivery, banks closed, etc..) The bit about giving out gifts of Scotch whisky is absolutely spurious, and needs to be removed. CrashRiley (talk) 19:36, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

Excuse me, but I'm the one who put that there. (I accidentally posted that without noticing that I wasn't logged in.) When I lived in Orange County (California) in the early-to-mid 1980s, I worked in an industrial park (in Costa Mesa, at the corner of S. Harbor Blvd. and W. MacArthur Blvd.) where I observed this among many of the owners of the businesses there. (Looking at Google Earth, I can see it's still there: two long narrow buildings with a parking lot in between.) Here in San Francisco (where I live now) I've seen this with the small business owners on O'Farrell Street, between Jones and Leavenworth. Also, I've looked online, and people are right: it's virtually impossible to find anything about this. Using my library card, I logged on to the JSTOR database, but nothing. Zyxwv99 (talk) 21:05, 26 December 2011 (UTC)
Since you don't support or believe your own argument for including this "fact", why then did you revert my deletion? I have lived in New York city, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle, and I have never observed gifts of Scotch given to anyone specifically on the day after Christmas. But so what? My subjective observations don't count here. The point is that this article is about how people observe Boxing Day, not Things Americans do on December 26th that having nothing to do with Boxing Day. Perhaps someone should create a new article with that title. With no other citation besides a small filler editorial by an unnamed International Business Times web site staff reporter I don't see anything to support including this irrelevant fact in an article on Boxing Day. What a lone IBTimes reporter and you have observed on O'Farrell street on December 26th can be only coincidental with the British origins of Boxing Day. Americans don't recognize December 26th as anything other than "the day after Christmas". There is no tradition of tipping out service people specifically on December 26th. In the US, gifts and tips given to service people may be given on any day around the Christmas holiday. Most Americans call these "early Christmas gifts" or "late Christmas gifts" and not surprisingly they have nothing to do with Boxing Day... See's candy is the traditional holiday gift in San Francisco, by the way, not Scotch; although, they might have different traditions in the Tenderloin, but these are also likely not relevant to Boxing Day.Noah (talk) 01:21, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

The work "dramatic" is subjective[edit]

Perhaps just saying price reductions would suffice. Dramatic price reductions seems pro shopping. Boxing day is also celebrated in Jamaica. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:53, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Typo in fourth paragraph[edit]

..."and maybe sometimes leftover food."

should likely read:

"and sometimes leftover food."

(without quotes, of course)

Deekin (talk) 04:53, 27 December 2013 (UTC) Deekin Deekin (talk) 04:53, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

Wren's Day?[edit]

"It is also known as both St. Stephen's Day and the Day of the Wren or Wren's Day in Ireland." I am in my 60s and have lived in Ireland all my life and have never heard of St Stephen's Day being referred to as "Wren's Day" or "The Day of the Wren". I have never heard of anyone referring to it as anything other that St Stephen's Day. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:12, 6 December 2014 (UTC)

I am from Ireland too, and I have heard it, here and here are two links for you. Murry1975 (talk) 20:26, 6 December 2014 (UTC)

Age of the name "Boxing Day"[edit]

Can anyone provide an old literary citation or newsclipping that would date the "Boxing Day" name to having been used "at least as early as ..." ? See this article for an example of what I mean: [8] (talk) 17:01, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

Trading Places ???[edit]

There is/was a British/Canadian tradition of officers and enlisted men trading places (as much as practical) for the day, which is in turn supposed to originate from an older tradition of servants and employers trading places, which I suspect is related to the tradition of servants coming to the front door and being greeted by their employer with gifts. I do not currently have any citable sources yet this was so common I am sure there must be some. What I find odd is that these traditions (except the last) are not even mentioned in this article. (talk) 17:12, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

I tried doing a quick bit of digging and found the following intriguing reference (also without supporting documentation sadly...

Happy Boxing Day! It would seem, especially to us Yanks, that Boxing Day might refer to the day you beat the cr@p out of your annoying relatives.. but NO! It instead refers to the day that servants of the rich were traditionally given gifts - well that's one explanation. It's also Saint Stephen's Day - celebrated in Italy for sure. The tradition of giving gifts on this day harkens all the way back to the Romans, celebrating 'Saturnalia' and not only giving servants gifts, but also trading places with them for one day a year.[1] (emphasis added) (talk) 17:36, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Someone's facebook page is not a reliable source even if they call them self The Language Chef. Walter Görlitz (talk) 18:39, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Which is why I said "without supporting documentation" of course. (talk) 22:51, 30 December 2014 (UTC)