Why Is Boxing Day Called Boxing Day?

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You may know the the day after Christmas (the 26th) is called Boxing Day. But do you know why or how it got its name? Is it about the sport of boxing, or are we talking about the square boxes here? Let’s find out why Boxing Day is called Boxing Day!

About Boxing Day

As most of you would know, Boxing Day falls on the 26th of December each year. Incidentally, the 26th is also Saint Stephen’s Day, a religious holiday. Originated in the UK, it comes as no surprise that Boxing Day in the UK is actually a national holiday! It is also a holiday in Scotland and Ireland, as well as several other countries, especially those that were part of the British Empire before. In some European countries, Boxing Day is celebrated as a second Christmas day, and we stan that!

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So Why Is It Called Boxing Day?

Apparently, there could be more than one reason, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the sport of boxing. (You know, the one where you throw punches at each other?) So, read on to check out the possible reasons, and don’t box someone on Boxing Day!

Christmas Gifting

Back in the day, Christmas presents were also known as “Christmas boxes”. Traditionally, these Christmas boxes were given by the wealthy to their servants the day after Christmas to take home to their families. As they have to stay and serve on Christmas day, the 26th is a day off for them, and the boxes were a token of thanks for their service. The boxes usually contain gifts, bonuses and sometimes leftover Christmas food.


Boxes are traditionally places in churches on Christmas day to collect funds for the poor, and the boxes would be opened the next day. The opening of the boxes on 26th is also a possible reason it’s called Boxing Day.

Nautical Tradition

Well, we weren’t expecting this, to be honest. Ships take a sealed box containing money with them when setting sail for good luck. When they return from their (successful) voyage, the box would then be handed over to a priest, opened on Christmas, and the contents distributed to the poor the next day.

Usually people go with the first two explanations as why Boxing Day is named, but it’s been quite a while that no one is really sure which one explanation is the true one. In fact, it could be a combination of two or even three of the above!

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What Do People Do On Boxing Day?

Boxing Day has always been associated with sports. On Boxing Day (where it’s celebrated widely), there could be horse races and sports tournaments ongoing. If it’s not about sports, then just like any other festive season, it’s a day where people meet up and gather to hang out and chill. Perhaps the next will snag your interest: shopping. Boxing Day is getting progressively synonymous with “shopping” in recent years, with dramatic price reductions. Some stores even open way earlier than their usual operating hours, and let’s just say it can get crazy in malls on Boxing Day. It’s the Boxing Day sale after all!

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If you didn’t know the reasoning behind “Boxing Day” before this, what was your original thought about why “Boxing Day” was named? Share with us in the comments below!