Saturday, December 26, 2009

Aussie Boxing Day

No, that doesn't mean we have boxing matches all over the place! Many other countries also have Boxing Day as a special holiday today after Christmas. I've just done a little research on the origens of this day and found some interesting history I was not fully aware of. Even if you too have this day perhaps you would like to know a little more about it.

Some sources say this all began in Medieval times, others that it began in England a few centuries ago. This was the day servants and slaves were given Christmas
"boxes" after their hard work on Christmas Day. Apparently Queen Victoria introduced it to be the day parcels were distributed not only to these hard working folk but also tradesmen, postal workers and others as well. This was also proclaimed a public holiday in most Commonwealth countries.

Unfortunately, today shopkeepers have one of their busiest days of the year. We have been watching the news on TV of the crazy folk who have queued outside major shops over night to be there first in the door when the shops opened at 5a.m. 5a.m.?! Afraid we were still snug in bed at this place! There are some fantastic specials in most shops - if you have the patience to navigate all the cars and the shoppers grabbing for bargains. However, have to confess we did venture out but went to the cinema instead!

So, what does the Hawkins family normally do most Boxing Days if they are not brave enough to go shopping? Well, besides recovering of course from over-indulging with all kinds of delicious food, chocolates, etc on Christmas Day there is sleeping time of course but also when I was a child my family liked to get together with our extended families for picnics or some activity together. As we lived in the country and most of us on farms, it involved travelling to the nearest waterhole or creek - that still had some water in it in our hot summer. There was hopefully swimming, games to play like rounders - a family game of a mixture of baseball, softball and cricket!

Since we've been married and have our own family we still like to get together with extended family whenever possible for a real Australian barbecue. Our children still call it the Boxing Day "rellie bash." Once again swimming is the favourite occupation this day. Then of course there are all those toys to play with, books to read - if a quiet, private spot could be found. However that was mostly in the morning as the afternoon was spent watching TV and the international cricket test match at the Melbourne Cricket ground. And guess what we've been doing this afternoon? Yeah, watching Pakistan team trying to bowl out our Aussie batsmen. I have to confess having an inspirational romance book in one hand and only looking up when the crowd gets excited. Think I should confess this to my husband? Hmmm...somehow I think he knew!

Well, this is a much shorter blog this time. I'm sure you too have a busy time today. I have to confess also I'm very glad we have had a very pleasant summer day here and not the savage winter snow many other places are experiencing. Do trust you are safe wherever you are.

What about your 26th December? If you do have a Boxing Day in your country would love to have you tell us about it in a comment. Or are you still recovering from Christmas Day! I do trust you have had a beautiful Christmas filled with the joy, peace and hope that can only be fully experienced when it comes from our personal relationship with Jesus.

Mary Hawkins


  1. Boxing Day is also celebrated in South Africa and is a public holiday, although I've no idea why. I suspect, however, with South Africa having been under British rule many, many years ago, the same reasons for its celebration in Britain would be the reason it became a public holiday in SA.
    And yes, we too spend it recovering from too much turkey and gammon.

  2. Wasn't aware SA had Boxing Day, Marion. Also not quite certain what gammon is. My husband just told me he thinks it is ham. We've certainly enjoyed - er...enjoying - our ham today still.
    Thanks for sharing Marion.

  3. When I was a kid Boxing Day was the family day at our grandparents. All 9+spouses and all 33 grandkids got together for turkey dinner and a program we put together for the grandparents every year.

    Today my sister's family and mine got together. We had lunch with our mom in her nursing home, then went back to my sister's house and enjoyed extended family time.

  4. I love Boxing Day. the work is over, there's enough food left to negate the need for cooking. There's a stack of new books under the tree and no one needs me to do anything. One of my favourite days of the year.

  5. Yes, in S.Africa we do have a public holiday the day after Christmas Day. It used to be called "Boxing Day" but it is now known as "The Day of Goodwill". Like everyone else, we "chill out" and recover from the day before.

    BTW I looked up the difference between ham and gammon. Seems it's a matter of when the meat is smoked - before or after it's cured, or salted with brine.

    Thanks for your interesting post, Mary.

  6. I was in Hove, West Sussex for Boxing Day 2002, a few days after the marriage of my oldest son, who lives now in Oxfordshire with his family. It turned out to be one of the more memorable afternoons I have spent. We got into a conversation about how flippant we Americans are about history and I said it was because we have fewer ghosts in the US. This led to a spirited discussion between one woman who swore there was a ghost in the house where she lived as a girl and her relative by marriage who swore there is no such thing as a ghost. I thought "How perfect: the Romantic and Empiricist traditions of England in the same room!"

    It made such an impression on me that I make mention of boxing day (just a mention) in my new release, Angela 1: Starting over. To learn more, please click on my name and follow the link to my website. Thanks!

  7. We braved the crowds on boxing day this year - my daughter was needing a new TV. The crowds weren't as bad as we thought they might be - many people shopped online it seems. :)

  8. Mary, I'm glad you enjoyed a relaxing Boxing Day :-) I was at work on Boxing Day, letting 150+ people in the door when the store opened at 9am Although, I must admit I'm a fan of the after Christmas sales, and in previous years I've shopped at 7am on Boxing Day before starting work later in the day

  9. Loved your comments! Yes, Boxing Day is never complete for me without that new book to read. David, my husband, son and I were in West Sussex just after Boxing Day in 2001 - although trying to remember if was then or 2002. However, had heaps of snow that year but we thoroughly enjoyed our time there. I'm still typing on my daughter's laptop and will have a peep at your profile and website after we get home.
    Sorry your Boxing Day was so 'different' Narelle!

  10. This year we didn't have a Christmas lunch, instead we had a wonderful boxing day, with friends coming over for lunch, and staying through to early evening. We laughed so much my face hurt for a couple of days after!

  11. Boxing Day isn't celebrated in France but many people take it off. It's called 'faire le pont' (literally 'to make the bridge'). In this case, it's the bridge between Christmas and New Year.