Friday, December 26, 2008

1 Hour : Know It : Celebrating Boxing Day

Boxing Day, an English observance that encourages giving to the poor, is the perfect day to clean the closets and especially the playroom. We plan to give away some of our older toys, books, and games that are still in good condition. While we're cleaning out, I'll tell the kids how this day began.

The celebration of Boxing Day, which takes place on December 26 - the feast of St. Stephen, is a part of the holiday season unique to Great Britain. Traditionally, it is on this day that the alms box at every English church is opened and the contents are distributed to the poor. Also, this is the day that servants traditionally got the day off to celebrate with their families. It became traditional for working people to break open their tip boxes on this day. Boxing Day began in the mid-nineteenth century when the custom of tipping by rich persons to persons in service positions had apparently gotten out of hand. Children and others pretended to be in the trades and solicited tips. The custom was expanded to giving to anyone and everyone who had less money than you did, and soon the streets at Christmastime were full of aggressive soliciting of tips. To contain the nuisance "Boxing Day" was designated as the one day for giving to the less fortunate. (via

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