Boxing Day is my favourite day of the year. It’s a day when I sit quietly and contemplate the holidays. Nothing must be accomplished on Boxing Day.
It’s a day for sleeping in to catch up on the late nights during the hectic week before Christmas. Getting dressed is optional as there are no commitments. There is a happy contentment to the day. Life is on hold.
Boxing Day is a statutory holiday celebrated on December 26 in Canada and other parts of the British Commonwealth. It is commonly believed that Boxing Day began when boxes of alms or gifts of food were gathered for the poor. December 26 is also St. Stephen’s Day, a holiday to commemorate the life of this saint believed to be the first Christian martyr.
In our culture, Boxing Day usually means shopping, watching sports events, or just relaxing. I’ve spent most of today in my favourite chair reading, sipping coffee, and re-living good memories of Christmas.
There are many ways that Boxing Day is special.
- There is no schedule. Boxing Day is truly a day of rest. There’s extra time for a second cup of coffee in the morning.
- Deadlines are past. In the days before Christmas every day brings time-sensitive priorities — for attending events or finishing something. There are deadlines for online shopping, for mall closures, for post office shipping. Everything feels rushed.
- The stress lifts. Although Christmas is a time for happiness and celebration many people feel stress during the holiday season. Stress may come from money worries given the pressure to buy gifts, tickets, expensive foods, and libations. Stress may also come from dashed expectations or loneliness. There may be anxiety about seeing (or not seeing) certain family members during the holidays. My stress usually comes from long ‘to do’ lists!
- If you like shopping, there are sales in most stores. It seems that every mall has advertised Boxing Day prices for the past two weeks so why bother to leave the house? Online shopping has made Boxing Day sales in physical stores less tempting although lines form early in the morning at big box stores that advertise cheap electronics. Standing in lines outside of stores and at cash registers makes Boxing Day fun for many.
- Most of the Christmas visiting is concluded. Although many families host Boxing Day dinners and parties, it is not a tradition in our family. It’s a day when the noise and excitement is over; solitude and calm reign.
- The angst over gifts has passed. People either liked their presents, or they will use the enclosed gift cards for exchanges. If they were disappointed, they can set the gift aside for re-gifting (if that’s their thing)!
- There is time to set up and appreciate the gifts you received. There is time today to open the packaging, read instructions, try on the clothes, and set up complicated electronics. The bonus: you might get attention from a younger family member who knows how to operate the latest gizmo. This is also a day to start reading those Christmas books that were on the list.
- The fridge is full of leftovers. Yeah — no cooking today! There’s bound to be turkey or ham sandwiches, leftover cheeses, calorie-ridden baked goods, and bits of punch or eggnog available when hunger strikes. Chocolates, shortbread, fruitcake, cookies, nuts, and candy make snacks a delight.
- If television is your passion, there are many options. Sports events, old movies, or net flicks marathons await.
- There is time to get some outdoor exercise. Too many dinners and parties can leave you feeling sluggish. By shedding the pyjamas and going outdoors for even a short brisk walk, you’ll feel refreshed.
I love to spend Boxing Day by taking some time for solitude. It’s a day when I put up my feet, feel the privileges of my life, count my blessings, and give thanks for the love and appreciation of my husband and family.