In the Christian calendar the 26 December is known as Saint Stephen’s Day, the commemoration of the first Christian martyr. However, most of us know it better as “Boxing Day”.
Although you’ll hear a wide range of suggestions about where the name “Boxing Day” comes – it’s certainly not a day to have a ‘boxing match’ as I used to have with my brother when I was a child!
It has two origins. Firstly, it comes from the Poor Boxes in churches where “alms” (ie money to support the poor) were collected. Traditionally the day after Christmas was the day the boxes were unlocked, opened and distributed.
Secondly, it was the day ‘those in service’ were given the day off by their masters to go home and visit their families and they were often given a special Christmas present in a box to take home with them.
Both traditions remind us of our obligations to the poor and a reminder that generosity to others isn’t just for Christmas Day.
So, on this Boxing Day, could you make a donation to a charity supporting vulnerable people and who could you be generous to?
The 12 Days of Christmas