Of course, I’d heard about Boxing Day before but since I never needed it for a story, I had only a vague idea that it had to do with giving presents. In boxes, of course. So exactly what is Boxing Day and what are the associated traditions? I googled and found a delightful explanation on the website of the Woodlands Junior School in Tonbridge, Kent. Boxing Day is a time of charity. During the Regency, people would give gifts to their servants and to the poor. According to the website, an “‘Alms Box’ was placed in every church on Christmas Day, into which worshippers placed a gift for the poor of the parish. These boxes were always opened the day after Christmas, which is why that day became know as Boxing Day.”
Other traditional Boxing Day activities include fox hunting, indoor games or appropriate wintry outdoor pursuits. There is also a custom of hunting the wren, a bird one was not allowed to hunt any other day (though why one would wish to hunt wrens is beyond me).
Today, I will not be foxhunting, nor ice skating, nor hunting wrens. Instead, I’ll be on a family outing organized by my parents to see a dinner theatre performance of “White Christmas”. The group will include all 5 grandchildren ranging in ages from 5 to 11. I don’t know if my parents know what they are letting themselves in for! My own children are among the older ones and they will behave (or risk, as Dumbledore put it, “a very painful death”). But as for the others–all bets are off. Plan A: pretend we don’t know them. Plan B: drink heavily.
So what are you doing to celebrate Boxing Day?
If you are looking for something to do, why not send a postcard to the Woodlands Junior School? (Here’s the address.)