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Why Boxing Day? An Explanation

December 26, 2019
mandyevebarnett


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The origins of ‘Boxing Day’ are steeped in history and in my naivety, I assumed everyone had or knew of Boxing Day. Growing up in England my understanding was that it was an old tradition to open gifts the day after as Christmas Day was spent in church and then feasting.

The exact etymology of the term ‘boxing’ is unfortunately unclear and although there are several competing theories, none are definitive. Money and other gifts were traditionally given to the needy and to those in service positions, such as servants. The European tradition goes back to the Middle Ages but its exact origin is still unknown. There have also been claims that it dates back to the late Roman/early Christian era. It is known that metal boxes were placed outside churches to collect special offerings tied to the Feast of Saint Stephen. In England it was the custom in the nineteen-century for Victorian tradesmen to collect their ‘Christmas boxes’ or gifts on the day after Christmas in return for good and reliable service throughout the year.

The name could also derive from another old English tradition, where wealthy landowners would allow their servants to have the 26th off work to visit their families in return for a smoothly run Christmas Day feast. Each servant was given a box containing gifts and bonuses and sometimes leftover food! Also around the 1800’s churches would open their alms boxes and distribute the contents to the poor. These boxes were filled with monetary donations from the wealthier members of the congregation.

No matter which version you would like to believe, Boxing Day is still an enjoyable holiday and one spent with family and friends, enjoying the ‘left overs’ and new gifts.

What will you be doing this Boxing Day?

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A Themed Piece of Prose…

December 8, 2014
mandyevebarnett


As I mentioned on Friday, tomorrow is my writing group’s Christmas party – it is an opportunity to share our current projects, reflect on the past year and reconnect with members who have been away. Part of the celebration is for everyone to read a seasonally themed piece of prose or poem. There are always a variety of interpretations to this prompt, which makes for an interesting evening. My submission this year is:

gift-wrapped-box

The Box

It sat under the Christmas tree tantalizing me

Its shiny wrapping paper and bright gold bow

Perfectly folded corners and sealed up tight

On the label written in script my name

 

As I pass, my eyes fix

Under the decorated Christmas tree

Its lights twinkle and baubles dangle

The box reflected a hundred times

 

When alone I sit beside the box

Smoothing its surface and guessing

The gold ribbon fastened tight

No tears or gaps through which to peek

 

Carefully I pick up the box

Giving it a gentle shake

There is no rattle or jangle

No noise to give a clue

 

The days pass slowly

My impatience grows

When will I be able to open the box

And find out what it holds?

 

Christmas morning arrives

My excitement wakes me at dawn

I creep down the stairs

To find the box gleaming

 

At last the family assembles

I burst with excitement

As the box is handed to me

I feel its weight again and gasp

 

With shaking hands I unwrap

The paper and bow discarded

A cardboard box revealed

No clue given still

 

Prizing open the flaps

Tissue paper rustles

Underneath my Christmas, wish

A perfect treasure for me to keep

 

Prompt logo

Why not share your Christmas themed poem or prose here?

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