Boxing Day Is A More Relaxed Opportunity To Get Together And Feast

Children are no strangers to counting down the days until Christmas. It's a source of great excitement to cross out on the calendar the days leading up to December 25th. And as the big day gets closer, observant kids might notice the words "Boxing Day" written on the December 26th space, usually followed by Canada in parentheses. A holiday is a holiday for youngsters, so they are likely to, at some point, see if they have another day's worth of presents coming to them. 

For those kiddos and adults who aren't in the know, Boxing Day is a holiday that originated in Great Britain and is now celebrated in many British Commonwealth countries (like Canada). In these countries it's a public holiday, so just as with Christmas, businesses and government offices are closed, according to Almanac. None of the origins have to do with boxing, the sport, but rather boxes for charitable gift giving — to postal workers or those in a similar service, or the needy. And while many people still honor the traditions of Boxing Day, one of the highlights of the day is to get together with friends and family and participate in everyone's favorite holiday tradition — eating.

Eat, drink, and be merry, again

Almanac suggests that, beginning in the late 19th century, churchgoers began putting money into boxes at their churches which would be distributed to the poor on the day after Christmas. History adds that, during this same era, the well-to-do would give their staff and servants December 26th off to spend with their loved ones since they had to work on Christmas Day. Before they would go, their employers would give their servants boxes that contained money, gifts, and sometimes leftover food. With their precious chefs gone for the day, lords and ladies still had to eat and, unable to whip up many-course feast themselves, would break out the leftovers from the day before and enjoy a low-key, casual day.

No longer just an occasion for the ultra-rich, Boxing Day is celebrated this way by millions today. According to The Spruce Eats, Boxing Day meals are often served buffet style and often include leftovers from the previous day's feast. Think cold ham, roasted meats baked into savory pies, pastries filled with minced meat and other sweet fillings ... and (since it's not the 19th century) stretch pants in lieu of black-tie dress. Many families host open houses where loved ones are welcome to drop by any time of the day, so typically only foods that can withstand the timeframe are put out. If you're not up for another day of feasting, many celebrate by participating in runs and similar events to aid the disadvantaged.