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Why do the British call the 26th December Boxing Day?

There is no agreement about this. We can be pretty sure it is not because:

  • family members were ready to fight each other after spending Christmas Day together  
  • it was the day you boxed up and sent unwanted presents back to the shop.

What is known is that the holiday is the feast day of Saint Stephen - as described in the carol Good King Wenceslas. There has also been an association since the early Christian period with charity - metal boxes were left outside churches.

In Britain, Boxing Day has always been seen as the holiday of the working classes - with gifts to the servants and sporting events for the masses. Major football matches are scheduled for this day in the knowledge that (typically male) family members will jump at the chance to escape the house.

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