Friday, 9 December 2016

Christmas Countdown and Traditions Day Nine

Hello Friends!

It is December 9th, so here is the image and scripture from the Advent calendar for today ~~~


and here is how the calendar looks so far, with the first nine doors opened ~~~


Today's tradition I will share is the observance of Boxing Day.

Christmas Day in the United Kingdom is followed by Boxing Day on December 26th.  It is a secular holiday so called because it is the day when servants or tradesmen would receive their 'Christmas Box', a cash gratuity, from their masters, customers, or employers.

A Christmas Box was, and often still is, a gift of money in recognition of work throughout the year. In bygone days the Christmas Box was an important source of extra income.  Even today, when we give a tip to postmen, refuse collectors, hairdressers and beauticians, etc. it is called their "Christmas Box" {although this is no longer given on December 26th} in recognition of the distant origins.

Boxing Day is a holiday tradtion I grew up with, and frankly I never understood what it was about until I was much older. During my research for this I came across another interesting related snippet which is that servants and workers kept sealed stoneware boxes in their rooms or cottages in which they kept the tips they received throughout the year. On December 26 they traditionally broke open the boxes to access the money accrued through the year, hence the name 'Boxing Day' ~ I had not heard of this before, but it adds another layer of interest to the interpretation.

Christmas Boxes were often spent on little luxuries that otherwise were not affordable, and also on sweet treats sold by the numerous street vendors of the day. This goes a long way to explaining why, at Christmas time, I always felt my mother was stocking up the home for a ten day siege! Although we were not in reciept of a Christmas Box, I know she kept a little box in the sideboard in the parlour so she could save regularly throughout the year to provide a sumptuous feast for the family between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day when we ate like the kings and queens of old!

The gifting of Christmas Boxes was not an insignificant gesture. Considering the average well~to~do household over the course of twelve months might employ, in addition to their own staff and servants, the following tradesmen: butcher, green grocer, brewer, fishmonger, poulterer, dustman, watchman, lamplighter, seamstress, carpenter, glazier, blacksmity, tallow chandler, grain chandler, baker, and so on and so forth, not forgetting the person who sells brick dust to your footman for the polishing of knives, and not to mention that every apprentice who works for all of your main suppliers and tradesmen would be sure to make themselves known to you on Boxing Day too then the giving of a Christmas Box was an expensive thing to do.

We do not like to be done out of an extra day off work, so if Boxing Day falls on a weekend, then a Bank Holiday is taken on the first working day that follows {to complicate matters, if Christmas Day falls on a Saturday, and Boxing Day on a Sunday then the next two working days being Monday and Tuesday are taken in the form of Bank Holidays, so it can be a four day weekend}.

Across much of Europe, the 26th December is known as St Stephen's Day, or the Second Day of Christmastide and is observed as such with different traditions or customs pertinent to each country.

Until next time ~~~
~~~Deborah xoxo

4 comments:

  1. Even though we do not observe Boxing Day as such, we also give tips or gifts to those that have given service to us. The postman, the newspaper boy or girl, the hairdresser, the UPS driver and on and on--a special extra gift at Christmas. It's interesting to read about the special box that one kept for the special celebrations at Christmas. Some companies still give their employees a bonus or gift at Christmas that makes a real difference for them and their families. xoxo ♥

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    1. I was horrified my first year I lived in America to be scheduled to work on Boxing Day!
      Yes, Martha Ellen, there are still plenty of recipients for a Christmas Box!
      ~~~Deb xoxo 🎄

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  2. Well, here is another thing I was totally wrong on. lol I thought it was to "box" up the Christmas decorations to be put away. I am glad to learn what it really is about.

    Love and hugs,
    Darlene

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    1. I guess that would sound feasible too! lol ~ that was a new discovery to me on my first Christmas in America that everyone put Christmas away on the 26th!
      Love, Deb xoxo

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Thank you for stopping by today ~ I love reading your comments