TODAY is a day to spend with family and friends and to eat up all the leftovers of Christmas Day. The origins of the day, however, are immersed in history and tradition.
Boxing Day was traditionally a day off for servants and the day when they received a ‘Christmas Box’ from the master. The servants would also go home on Boxing Day to give ‘Christmas Boxes’ to their families.
There is also reference to the church and charities on Boxing day as traditionally there was a box placed in Churches on Christmas day to collect money for the poor and opened the next day – Boxing Day.
There are also hints of a nautical tradition behind the day. Great sailing ships when setting sail would have a sealed box containing money on board for good luck. Were the voyage a success, the box was given to a priest, opened at Christmas and the contents then given to the poor.
In recent times, the day has become synonymous with many sports. Many top football teams also play on Boxing Day, but it’s also a day when the British show their eccentricity by taking part in all kinds of bizarre activities, including swimming the icy cold English Channel, fun runs, and charity events.
A more recent “sport” that has emerge of late is shopping. Sales used to start in January, post-New Year, but the sales now start earlier giving consumers a chance to grab a bargain the day after Christmas and for shops to off-load stock.
Shoppers are expected to spend more than £4bn in the Boxing Day sales on Thursday, but the annual discount extravaganza is likely to less than in previous years after a month of price cuts, especially the recent Black Friday.
Four consecutive years of decline in shopper numbers mean there will be at least 11% fewer people visiting high streets, shopping centres and retail parks than on Boxing Day 2015