Amidst the all-consuming madness that is the festive season, the lead up to Christmas Day can feel a little overwhelming. Shopping for gifts, planning the roast and organising the family get-together dominates the Christmas period. That’s why in the aftermath of Yuletide, Boxing Day can feel like a collective sigh of relief. But what exactly is this underrated holiday? And what are the traditions that surround it?
There’s still some dispute as to where the name originated. Some believe the name is a reference to holiday gifts, a ‘Christmas Box’ historically being used as a term for presents in the UK, Boxing Day was previously a day off for staff and the day when they received a ‘Christmas Box’ from their boss. Workers would also return home on Boxing Day to give ‘Christmas Boxes’ to their families.
The name could also refer to charity drives, collection boxes were placed in Churches on Christmas Day and opened the following day. Or, a lesser known theory is that sailing ships would have a sealed box containing money on board for good luck when setting off. Upon a successful journey, the box was presented to a priest, opened at Christmas and the contents given to the poor.
Nowadays, the day is commonly a time for sleeping in, eating leftovers, catching up with family, basking in the previous day’s haul and scoring a deal on the Boxing Day sales. We asked some of the BN team how they celebrate Boxing Day:
“I've worked in a leadership role in the retail industry since the beginning of time so I always work! My partner also works in a crazy, busy Boxing Day environment. Our ritual typically consists of getting cozy at home with a big glass of wine to celebrate surviving another year in retail while binge-watching the holiday episodes of Friends from each season (while I secretly do some online shopping on my phone) for that last, “I don't need it, but I deserve it" gift of the month.” - Kyla Plotnikoff, UK Regional Manager
"Boxing Day in my house is the calm after the storm. It’s pyjamas all day, Christmas movies and left overs devoured” - Jemma Hunte, Eyewear Stylist at Covent Garden
“Boxing Day is a family day. It is a time to catch up with the family, friends and also some 'zzz's'" - Matthew Ramsey, Optical Stylist at Covent Garden
“Growing up, I would always beg my parents to drive my siblings and I to the nearby mall so we could check out all of the deals (and spend any money we got for Christmas). Looking back, I think we were crazy to go out in the crowds. When we would come home, we would have turkey sandwiches from Christmas dinner's leftovers. These days, nothing would make me more content that staying home and relaxing.” - Shayna Ponak, E-Commerce and Social Media Coordinator
“When I was a kid, my Grandpa would give all the grandkids $20 for Christmas and make us spend it at the mall on Boxing day. We weren't allowed to save it. We would get spend at Toys R Us. As an adult I do the opposite now- no shopping, just eating leftovers and napping!” - Bethany Rosen, Kitsilano Store Manager
"I usually spend Boxing Day at a family members house with kids running wild everywhere and a nice spread on the table. It’s a time for being with loved ones and building each other up over a glass of champagne!” - George Fairclough, Eyewear Stylist at Covent Garden
Whether you’re staying at home in your pyjamas, eating leftovers (and perhaps browsing the sales online), or heading out to face the crowds this Boxing Day, we’ve got you covered with our Boxing Week sale.
Wishing a relaxing and joyful Christmas period from the Bailey Nelson family to yours!
Shop the Bailey Nelson Boxing Week sale. Two pairs of Glasses for $175 online or in store.