I remember once trying, as a Canadian, to explain Boxing Day to an American friend.
“A day off on the 26th?” she asked, puzzled. “Why do you need a vacation when you just got one?”
The answer, in that case, was firmly in the question. The genius of Boxing Day is that it’s a bank holiday, which means it’s the bank holiday we all need right now.
The origins of Boxing Day, which is observed in Great Britain, Canada and several Commonwealth countries, are English, rooted in the tradition of giving something to the poor and servants in December. 26. Businessmen with money would give a box of goods to the aid to take with them as they visited their families the day after Christmas, since they had been working on Christmas Day itself.
So Christmas Day.
During the 19th century, the tradition was transformed into a legal holiday and then spread throughout the Empire. Our unruly American cousins had already broken away, which might explain why Canada has Boxing Day and the US doesn’t.
Whatever traditional role the party once served quickly gave way, during the 20th century, to its current function, at least in Canada: self-indulgence. Christmas belongs to the family. On Boxing Day, you do.
You can get absolutely wrapped up and watch the World Junior Hockey Championship with your friends, a popular choice. You can show your toys to your friends instead of listening to your grandparents about Christmases past. Above all, you can shop: Boxing Day, or more correctly, Boxing Week, has become Canada’s biggest shopping season of the year, surpassing even Black Friday in November, a tradition that Canada has borrowed from the US, despite celebrating Thanksgiving on a Monday. in October
But the real appeal of Boxing Day isn’t the sales, it’s the pressure it takes off in December. 25. Christmas is a joy, but it is also a lot of work. The promise of Boxing Day, a day just for you, makes it much more bearable. During Christmas, if your family is driving you crazy, if the food is too heavy, if you didn’t get what you wanted, there’s always tomorrow. Boxing Day recognizes that sometimes holiday love isn’t enough. You also need holiday fun.
No offense to anyone, but it has always baffled me that Americans have missed the opportunity to add another holiday to the calendar, especially one dedicated to self-indulgence. Maybe Boxing Day is one of those Canadian things, like Coffee Crisp and the Tragically Hip, that seem to work perfectly in the US, but just don’t translate.
Traditions evolve, however, and Boxing Day is worth embracing. Today, celebrate your own private Boxing Day and do whatever you want. Tell anyone who objects that you’re secretly Canadian, even if it’s just for 24 hours.