Boxing Day – December 26: History, Activities & Quotes

Boxing Day! The day right after Christmas is filled with its own unique charm. Ever wondered about its origins or the various ways it’s celebrated globally? Well, let’s dive in!

Boxing Day isn’t about throwing punches but has its roots in the act of giving. Originating in the UK in the Middle Ages, it was the day when the wealthy would give ‘boxes’ of gifts to their servants and tradesmen. While the name suggests pugilistic origins, it’s more tied to charity and alms.

History of Boxing Day

Boxing Day, celebrated the day after Christmas in places like the UK, Australia, and Canada, isn’t about fighting, as the name might suggest. Its origins trace back to the wealthy elites of Britain who wanted to thank their servants and helpers. On this day, they gave them gifts and a day off as a token of gratitude for their hard work throughout the year.

Historically, it’s believed that churches used to place small boxes for donations near their doors during Advent. On December 26, these donations were distributed to the needy. This day was dedicated to St. Stephen, a respected figure known for his charitable acts.

Today, Boxing Day has changed. While it used to be about giving and charity, it’s now a time for shopping, sports, and fun. In the UK, people enjoy football and horse racing.

In Australia, there’s a famous cricket match. Although fox hunting was once popular, it’s now restricted in the UK. Instead of traditional hunts, people now follow artificial trails.

Interestingly, Boxing Day has become a shopping event, similar to the USA’s Black Friday. Retailers offer big sales, some even lasting a week. It’s become a time for deals and discounts, extending well beyond just one day.

Boxing Day Activities

Shopping Traditions:

In many countries, it’s synonymous with massive sales and shopping sprees, similar to Black Friday in the US.

Sports Events:

Sporting events, especially football matches, are a highlight in many regions.

Community Services:

Many also engage in acts of charity, reminiscent of its historical roots.

Go for a hike or bike ride:

Enjoy the crisp winter air and scenery with a refreshing outdoor activity.

Have a leftover feast:

Boxing Day is the perfect time to enjoy all the delicious leftovers from Christmas dinner. Get creative and make new dishes with the leftover ingredients.

Play games:

Board games, card games, and video games are all great options for a fun family activity on Boxing Day.

Boxing Day Around The World

United Kingdom:

In England, Boxing Day is synonymous with festive shopping, with major department stores holding massive sales that draw eager crowds. It’s also a day for horse racing, with the prestigious King George VI Chase taking place at Kempton Park Racecourse.


Aussies kick off Boxing Day with a Barbie (that’s a barbecue for us non-Aussies!), grilling up leftover Christmas meats and enjoying the sunshine. Many head to the beach for a swim or a cricket match, while others catch the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

New Zealand:

Boxing Day in New Zealand is a day for relaxation and family time. Kiwis often enjoy picnics in the park, go for hikes in the stunning scenery, or head to the beach for a swim. There are also several sporting events held on Boxing Day, including rugby and cricket matches.

South Africa:

Known as the Day of Goodwill, Boxing Day in South Africa is a public holiday dedicated to charity and community service. Many people volunteer at soup kitchens or homeless shelters, while others simply spend time with family and friends.


While not an official holiday, Boxing Day is still celebrated in Ireland. Many people attend church services, visit family and friends, or enjoy a day at the pub. There are also some traditional sporting events held on Boxing Day, such as Gaelic football matches.

Boxing Day Traditions

Foods and Feasts:

Whether it’s leftover Christmas turkey or special Boxing Day pies, food plays a central role.


While not as grand as Christmas, there’s a unique charm in the Boxing Day decor, often featuring greenery and ribbons.

Family Gatherings:

Families come together, reminiscing about Christmas and gearing up for New Year’s celebrations.

5 Facts About Boxing Day

  • It’s a public holiday in many countries but not in the US.
  • The ‘Boxing’ might also refer to collecting donations in church boxes.
  • It’s a day to give back, whether through charity or acts of kindness.
  • It’s a bridge between the joyous Christmas festivities and the New Year celebrations.
  • The day has evolved but retains its essence of gratitude and giving.

Boxing Day Quotes, Wishes, and Messages

“Boxing Day: A day to reflect, rejoice, and recharge!”

“Wishing you a joyful Boxing Day filled with laughter, love, and memories.”

“May the spirit of Boxing Day inspire you to spread kindness and joy today and always.”

“On this special day, I wish you happiness, peace, and the warmth of cherished moments.”

“This Boxing Day, let’s not just unwrap gifts but also unwrap our hearts to share love and kindness with all.”

“As we gather today, let’s remember the true essence of Boxing Day: to be grateful for what we have and to share with those in need.”

“Sending warm wishes your way on Boxing Day. May your heart be as full as your holiday feast!”

Boxing Day Dates

While the date remains fixed on December 26th, the celebrations vary across countries, each adding its own unique flavor to the day.

2023December 26Tuesday
2024December 26Thursday
2025December 26Friday
2026December 26Saturday
2027December 26Sunday


What is Boxing Day?

Boxing Day, celebrated on December 26th, is a holiday enjoyed in many countries around the world, particularly in the Commonwealth nations. It’s a day for relaxation, family time, and enjoying the leftovers from Christmas.

When is Boxing Day?

It falls on December 26th every year.


Boxing Day, with its rich history and global celebrations, is more than just a day of sales and sports. It’s a testament to the spirit of giving, community, and traditions that bind us all.

Boxing Day, celebrated on December 26th, transcends its British roots to become a global phenomenon embraced with unique flair in various corners of the world. From the shopping frenzy and horse racing in the UK to the beachside barbecues and cricket matches in Australia, and from the community service focus in South Africa to the family gatherings and sporting events in Ireland, Boxing Day offers a spectrum of traditions to unwind, connect with loved ones, and find joy in the post-Christmas season. So, no matter how you choose to celebrate, let Boxing Day be a day of festivity, relaxation, and cherished memories.

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