Have you ever wondered what Boxing Day is? It’s a staple of the Canadian winter holiday, but how did it begin? The answers may surprise you.

Boxing Day continues to be celebrated by Canadians for generations, but do you know its origins? The name of Boxing Day hints at its gift-giving origins, but that doesn’t tell the full story. Read on to find out how Boxing Day got started, and how modern Canadians celebrate the holiday!

Table of Contents

  1. Boxing Day origins
  2. Where is Boxing Day recognized in Canada?
  3. Family time on Boxing Day
  4. Bundle up for Boxing Day
  5. Boxing Day gifts
  6. Celebrate Boxing Day your way

Boxing Day origins

Boxing-Day-originsWhile it’s known that Boxing Day got its start in the United Kingdom hundreds of years ago, its origins beyond that aren’t exactly clear. The reasons for its name have been narrowed down to a few possibilities. The first is that British servants would help their Lords and Ladies on Christmas Day, and the next day would be given a literal box of gifts as thanks. It was a kind gesture that was complimented by the fact that many staff got this day off to spend with their families, too. Hence, Boxing Day!

Alternatively, some believe it started with churches filling charity boxes for the poor a day after Christmas. Whichever is true the idea is the same: it’s a day of gift-giving and caring for one another.


Where is Boxing Day recognized in Canada?

Where-is-Boxing-Day-recognized-in-CanadaBoxing Day is a holiday for federally regulated workers in Canada, but that doesn’t mean it’s observed the same across each province. In Ontario, Boxing Day is a provincial statutory holiday, while Quebec doesn’t officially recognize Boxing Day. Nova Scotia goes even further and designates Boxing Day as a retail closing day. Moving westwards, retail outlets have the option of remaining open while many other businesses close for the day. If you plan on trekking out anywhere on December 26, it’s a good idea to call ahead and make sure your destination will be open!


Family time on Boxing Day

Family-time-on-Boxing-DayThe idea of spending the holiday with family has grown in Canada over the years. With the family all together, it’s a great opportunity to enjoy a wonderful holiday dinner. Once everyone is full and comfortable, consider a holiday movie so you can kick back, relax, and enjoy a cozy Boxing Day together.

This year, December 26 also means the start of the world junior hockey championships, which is a great event to tune into and cheer on Team Canada! Across the pond, there’s also the Spengler Cup and the Premier League to tune into on Boxing Day, leaving you spoiled for sports options. Of course, there’s plenty to do outside as a family, too—and that leads to my next topic!


You might also like: Grey Cup 2018: How to Plan a Grey Cup Party


Bundle up for Boxing Day

Bundle_Up_For_Boxing_DayGiven that it’s usually pretty cold by December 26, I’d suggest bundling up if you plan on heading outside! It’s important to wear warm outerwear in Canadian winter, especially if you plan on taking advantage of Boxing Day sales or playing out in the snow! The Great White North is a majestic place, but it comes with safety requirements—and this advice doesn’t just apply to Boxing Day, either!

Of course, you don’t need to step one foot outside to do your Boxing Day shopping. You can cozy up under a warm blanket, sip some hot coco, and do all your holiday gift shopping online on Walmart.ca! There’s nothing like a relaxing Boxing Day spent at home with your favourite hot drink.


Boxing Day gifts

Boxing_Day_GiftsIt was back in 1663 when someone first wrote about getting gift ‘boxes’ from their employer. While the nature of this gift-giving has changed over the years, Boxing Day is a golden opportunity to pick up even more holiday goodies for yourself. It’s a busy shopping day with many exclusive Boxing Day offerings, so I’d suggest checking out Walmart flyers (online, print, or both!) so you can plan what to grab before they’re sold out.


Celebrate Boxing Day your way

Celebrate_Boxing_Day_Your_WayWhether you go out and buy yourself a brand new PlayStation 4 or simply enjoy a day in with your family, Boxing Day is all about celebration. It’s about enjoying your gifts, material or not, and adding to them. It’s about family, and the precious freedom to spend a day with loved ones. It’s about having time for the things you enjoy.

The exact origins of the day will likely be shrouded in mystery forever, but one thing is clear: Boxing Day is a holiday that Canadian families have enjoyed for generations, and it’s here to stay!

No matter how you spend Boxing Day, enjoy the day at your own pace—this is a holiday about family time and creating memories that will last a lifetime. We hope you have a great Boxing Day, and happy holidays!

See also: Fun Card Games to Play with Friends and Family

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John is a Toronto-based journalist from Bracebridge, Ontario. With several years of experience in the gaming industry spent delivering news with honesty and integrity, his appetite for all things technology has only grown. Outside of the gaming world, he’s got a huge passion for photography, sports, and mid-day naps. You can check him out on his Twitter channel, @Makelevi.