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Unwrapping History: Boxing Day Traditions and Celebrations | ICONIC LIFE

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Unwrapping History: Boxing Day Traditions and Celebrations

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Commonwealth resident or not, these Boxing Day traditions can be adopted and enjoyed by all.

Boxing Day. You’ve no doubt heard the term, but the meaning often escapes non-residents of the Commonwealth countries for which it constitutes a public holiday. Those in Canada, Britain, New Zealand, and Australia have celebrated this December 26 date for nearly two centuries; the earliest official acknowledgement being 1833, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. 

Boxing Day’s genesis is not exactly crystal clear, though many believe the origin to be a Victorian era tradition whereby the upper classes provided post-Christmas gifts to their servants (boxed of course) in appreciation for their Christmas Day service. A second theory surmises that Boxing Day originated as a result of alms boxes placed in churches during Advent, for the collection of monetary donations from parishioners for distribution to those less fortunate. 

These days, while the holiday is mostly associated with shopping and sporting events, altruism and compassion continue to play a role in its varied traditions, here of which are the most popular:

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A day to spend with family and friends

After the frenzy of the holiday season, Boxing Day is a day of rest and relaxation, best spent in the company of loved ones, whether at home, in the pub, at a favorite restaurant, or while enjoying a long walk.

Boxing day traditions spa day

A day of self-care

Again, after the holiday whirl, Boxing Day offers a chance to slow down and care for oneself, whether via a warm bath, reading a book by the fire, or enjoying a glass of fine wine while listening to soft jazz.

boxing day traditions soccer games

A day for sport 

Within the UK, Boxing Day is nearly synonymous with soccer (or football as it’s known there.) All matches are televised for non-stop viewing.

 

A day for feasting

Several Boxing Day traditions combine when friends and family stop by to watch a football match on the “telly” while enjoying Christmas dinner leftovers.

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Boxing day traditions, shopping

A day for shopping

Similar to “Black Friday,” Boxing Day sees major retailers slashing prices and offering incredible discounts, making the holiday a shopper’s dream. 

A day for a cold dip 

One of Boxing Day’s chillier traditions is the polar bear plunge whereby participants jump into icy waters as a means of self-reinvigoration, and to celebrate a new year. 

Often, a charitable aspect is involved, which leads us to:

A day for selflessness

With Boxing Day’s origins linked to “giving,” many continue to consider the holiday a time to commit to their community via benevolence and volunteerism. 

No matter your country of residence, Boxing Day and its traditions are easily enjoyed by all. We at Iconic Life wish you a Happy Boxing Day filled with good company, good food, and love—both received and distributed.

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