Happy Boxing Day! Wait…What’s Boxing Day?

It is December 26th and my calendar says Boxing Day.

What in the world is Boxing Day and what is it doing on my calendar?

Boxing Day isn’t a holiday we celebrate in the US, but I had some ideas of what it might be about from TV. First, I remembered the old M*A*S*H episode where Colonel Potter made the officers and enlisted men swap roles for a day because that was the tradition of some British officers that happened to be staying with them at Christmas. (There are a lot of valuable life lessons to be learned from the Fighting 4077th, but that’s another post for another time.) Digging back a little further into the memory banks, I vaguely recalled something about taking boxes and giving alms to the poor on that day. This was promising. A day dedicated to forcing “The Man” to break a sweat for a change and taking time to care for people in need? Now this is my kind of holiday!

Enthusiastically I started to gather my thoughts for this post. I wanted to be sure to get everything about this day just right. Some internet research and a peep at Wikipedia soon revealed that I am not the only one who doesn’t fully understand Boxing Day. In fact, some of the people who observe Boxing Day can’t really say why it is a holiday. There are several origin myths but it is unequivocally NOT about making The Man do manual labor — in fact it is a bank holiday, so generally speaking, The Man probably has paid time off. And the part about making up care packages for those in need? Snopes.com burst my bubble by confirming that the holiday isn’t for boxing up all the stuff in the house you don’t need after a busy holiday season, either. In the countries where Boxing Day is celebrated it is mostly an extension of Christmas where people watch sports (Soccer! Not even boxing!?!) and go shopping at the after-Christmas sales.

Initially I was bummed by these discoveries, but then I realized that I’m the Mom and I can make up whatever traditions I want. That’s the awesome thing about parenting — Jacob and I are now the Family Tradition Masters. If we say Boxing Day is for serving others and giving forward from the bounty of the holidays then that’s that.

I hope each of you and your families are having a happy, healthy and blessed Christmas season. Did you forge any new traditions as you celebrated this year? Do you have any favorites you would like to share? The Wilderness Girls would love to hear all about the unique traditions your family shares. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some donations to gather.

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