Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Boxing Day (aka St Stephens Day) - the view from my couch

For an Australian, Boxing Day means many things, including:
  • a public holiday to get over the excesses of the previous day and eat leftovers as sandwiches and salads, and/or hangover nursing;
  • if you're in Melbourne, perhaps attending the first day of the Boxing Day Test cricket match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground - this year the Test series is Australia v India. Elsewhere, taking it in from the couch (where you could stay for the next 5 days, as a test match could last that long - the next one always starts in Sydney on New Years Day);
  • a trip to the beach or a picnic or barbecue in a park;
  • the release of new blockbusters at the cinema;
  • visits to the relatives you didn't see yesterday (in-laws often alternate between Christmas and Boxing Day in successive years);
  • the start of the Sydney-Hobart yacht race (see my 24 Dec blog) - perhaps baggsing a spot on a headland round the harbour to watch the start of the race;
  • pushing and shoving your way through the opening day of the sales at major retail stores;
  • getting away early for the drive to your summer beach holiday. I always think of Boxing Day as the "real" start to summer hols.

Boxing Day is usually thought to have its origins in the practice of giving gifts between peers, and amongst the upper classes on Christmas Day, with servants dancing attendance on the guests in the grand manors, and then the servants receiving gratuities the following day, Boxing Day. Or perhaps on large estates, all the serfs could gather together for family festivities, and the day after Christmas was a convenient one for the lord of the manor to dispense the yearly stipends.

Here's a number of theories about the origin*.

* Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable says: "Boxes placed in churches for casual offerings used to be opened on Christmas day, and the contents, called 'the dole of the Christmas box' or the 'box money', were distributed next day by priests. Apprentices also used to carry a box around to their masters' customers for small gratuities."


  1. What? No BOXING?!?!?!

    Now I feel cheated!

  2. Season Greetings to you Sally!
    Thanks for your kind wishes.
    I just loved your post on the preparations for the Sydney-Hobart race (you outdid yourself on the photos) and today's test cricket match viewed from your couch is a treat!

    Lots of love from Avignon,

  3. Merry Christmas. Hope you're having a great time!

  4. Boxing Day and Cricket are at least two things that I used to know about but lost the memories. I remember watching cricket once or twice and tried to understand what was going on and didn't.

    But then the "sports" played here must look worse than Christians thrown to the Lions in the rings in Rome. People with crazy costumes running full speed at each other and leaping, strangling and mugging each other on the way to the ground is hard for Aliens to understand. And they probably shrug their tiny shoulders and say, "Crazy American Football."

  5. I was in front of the cricket myself for most of the day. It was a little grim later in the day too grrr.

  6. Hi
    So nice your blog. I also love photography. Here I could see wonderful pictures. Great!!!

    Oh God, finally finished time for crazy shopping for friends and family… Last days were so busy...
    I also love singing carols during this time of the year… All of those songs bringing back good memories… heart-warming memories.

    Maybe you don't speak and write Portuguese, you can visit my blog, because I wrote in english language.

    Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones. God bless.


  7. We don't have a Boxing Day in France. What a shame!

    Thank you very much for commenting on my blog, and have a very Happy New Year.

  8. I love your partners(?) legs!! I hope you are enjoying the holidays. Can you remember back to when Boxing Day meant Davis Cup?

  9. Knowing you, you probably did all of those things!
    Happy Holidays, Sally!

    (PS But next time, please shave your legs ;-))

  10. Love this - and cricket on the television too!

  11. Sally

    the news a few days ago had footage of Australian dashing in for post Christmas bargains. haha..

    guess, for you all, it's at the good old couch ;-)

  12. lol :) He looks like he's recovering from the previous day's excess! :)