As a Vancouver box manufacturer, we at Racer Boxes were curious about the origins of our namesake holiday. Generally, everyone recognizes Boxing Day as the day after Christmas. For some, it’s a time to the purge the house of post-holiday boxes and wrap. Others use it as an opportunity to return and swap unwanted boxed gifts—and a few use it as post-holiday recovery time after “boxing” with querulous family members.
Obviously, there are a lot of definitions. However, charity seems to be a common thread from a historic point of view. For example, Boxing Day, also known as St. Stephen’s Day, is mentioned in the carol “Good King Wenceslas,” who sets out to do some charitable work “on the Feast of Stephen.”
However, that’s all that is known for certain. The true origins of the modern day moniker is lost to the shrouds of time, although there are a few prevalent theories. For example, one is the idea that the holiday stemmed from the tradition of giving boxed gifts to important service providers—like the milkman and paperboy who would be off on Christmas.
This could be tied to an older tradition when affluent families would gather on grand old estates for Christmas and donate unwanted good to servants and other members of the household. For ease and convenience, these allotments would be placed in boxes that were easy to take away, hence boxing day.
Another prominent theory is that the box was something employees would carry to work. This was essentially a cash donation box that employers would put money into—this would become the origin of the Christmas bonus.
The most elaborate theory involves boxes that were kept on ships. These boxes were charitable donations to a church that would be offered in exchange for conducting a mass onboard before a major voyage. The boxes would only be opened when the ship returned in a mass called the Christmass.
Regardless of the holiday’s origins, generosity of heart and spirit seems to be a common thread for Boxing Day. It’s a nice thought, and certainly one to keep in mind over the holiday season. We at Racer Boxes wish you happiness and safety in this season of light and splendour. Enjoy your holidays, and when you need corrugated cardboard boxes manufactured at wholesale prices—for Boxing Day or otherwise—give us a call.