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Tradition: Boxing Day

History of Boxing Day

“Boxing Day” was not a thing in the Georgian era, not until the Victorian era, specifically 1871. The traditions of Boxing Day, however, have been around since the Medieval era, although just what all is involved differs from place to place and person to person. Rather than be called Boxing Day, it was St. Stephen’s Day, so you should be seeing references to St. Stephen’s Day in those Georgian/Regency romances, never Boxing Day.

The various ways December 26th has been celebrated from Medieval to Victorian was to offer the servants the day off since they would have worked tirelessly on Christmas Day, for employers to gift boxes of food and goods to their servants for their family to enjoy on the day off, for the church to offer the charity Alms boxes to the poor, and even for folks of any financial status to offer a gift box of some sort to their most frequented tradesmen.

During the Georgian era, Dec. 26th would have seen some of this gift giving, a day off for the servants, and the best day for a foxhunt by the gentry and aristocracy.

Today, however, it is typically spent with festivities for friends and neighbors. Since December 25th is usually for family, the 26th is when we host parties for friends, exchanging gifts with said friend at that time. Not everyone celebrates the same way, of course, as some families prefer to relax on this day while others shop.

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