Boxing Day - the day after Christmas -- is on most of our calendars, usually with the caveat that it has something to do with Canada. If Americans ever stop to think of it all, most of us grow up thinking it is related to the sweet science.
It doesn't. Instead, it's a holiday with its origins in the stratified class system of Great Britain.
"Basically, it's Christmas for the working-class," says local antiques dealer Colin Gibbins, a native of Northampton, England. "The servants would box up the leftovers from their employers' houses, and then they would take them to the pub or a workingmen's club and share them there with the whole of your families - your aunties, your uncles. Everybody. You meet, and you share each other's boxes."
"It's a heavy day for sports-viewing - football, moto-cross, everything goes on on that day," he adds, before clarifying what it is not: "It's not a day for shoppin'!"
Local pre-school teacher Jacqueline Lomax, (who also happens to be my wife), agrees with that last bit, although her family didn't take boxes to the pub. The native of the Lancashire city of Preston remembers that her family pretty much did nothing at all on Boxing Day.
"We would just sit around and play with our toys and get over hangovers," she says.
You had a hangover and you were still playing with toys? How very neo-Dickensian.
"No, our parents had the hangovers," she says. "Basically, Boxing Day is an extension of Christmas. It's Christmas without the stress."
- John Nova Lomax
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