What is Boxing Day?
If you ask the average person in London what Boxing Day is, you'll get different answers. It is the day to get drunk with the people you like or the day to relax from the family. Or is it a holiday to rest after Christmas? What is Boxing Day and how did it begin? It's definitely more than just another holiday shopping day. But why did it come about and is it only the British who get to enjoy it?
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It is a public holiday for Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and other Commonwealth countries. Most offices are closed on this day if it is a weekday, adding to the lovely long Christmas holidays.
In parts of Europe, for example in several regions of Spain, the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Romania, Hungary, the Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, In Slovenia, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Belgium, Norway and the Republic of Ireland, December 26th is Saint Stephen's Day, which is considered Boxing Day. But it is a different holiday and background than Boxing Day.
During the Victorian era, the upper class and aristocracy packaged up leftover food, money, gifts, and goods and gave them to their merchants, servants, and others who provided reliable service throughout the year.
It's a wonderful feeling that has been somewhat forgotten. Today, Boxing Day in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth is more known for leftover food, relaxation and Boxing Day Sales.
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Until World War II, it was more philanthropic and family-oriented. A gradual shift occurred during the economic recovery after World War II as the British slowly got back on their feet. Retailers recognized this was an opportunity to increase traffic and sales. In the mid-1950s, consumer spending increased and competition between retailers intensified. It's now similar to Black Friday in the USA: the stores open early, there are big discounts on a few products and large crowds.
So today is a day where you can either sit back and join the flow of buyers. Either way – have fun!