Boxing Day is a national holiday in Britian, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and some other former British Colonies. "What IS she talking about?" you ask. Infact this is an opportunity to engage in some geography-history-social science learning with your kids!
Boxing Day is December 26th. It is supposed to have originated in the nineteenth century under Queen Victoria, as a holiday for the wealthy to give gifts to their servants, or trades people. The gifts were given in boxes, hence the name for the day. Also related was the tradition of the churches opening their alms boxes which had been filled during the Christmas season. The proceeds were distributed the day after Christmas. It also happens to be St Stephen's day - the first maytar of the Christian church.
What is it now? In Australia, Boxing Day is when the Boxing Day Cricket Test Match begins at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) against some other cricket playing nation (this year it's India). About 70,000 will be there at the grounds to watch it. The one game goes for five days. Millions will watch it at some point during the Test Match (television is commonly left on over the four days after Christmas for this reason). Go check out the Cricket Australia site here. Better still, a live update on the scores from the Test Match. Photo: Sebastian Cosanzo.
The other BIGGIE for Boxing Day - the start of the Sydney to Hobart sailing boat race. This is the OTHER reason the television is left on for days after Christmas. This boat race can be treacherous, several boats and sailors have been lost due to rough summer storms which can happen. You can check out the Yacht tracker here, as well as the various Yacht cams, Google Earth feed, Live Streaming Radio commentry........
A five day game of cricket not your cup of tea? A one week boat race not your cup of tea? OK, perhaps extra time on the beach - it is SUMMER down there after all. Any self respecting person knows Christmas is meant to be hot...."I'm dreaming of a HOT Christmas....". "Slip, Slop, Slap" "Slip on a hat, Slop on a shirt, Slap on some sun cream." See the zinc sunscreen painted on the face of Michael Hussey (the Cricketer) up above. This is considered quite a cool look since all the athletes in Australia decorate themselves like this for sun protection.
Boxing Day (After Christmas) sales also begin Dec 26th - another form of painful marathon.
Want to create your own Boxing Day tradition? Why not gather up all the toys that your children no longer want or the clothes they have outgrown and donate them to the charity of your choice on Boxing Day?