Boxing Day: From the U.K. to L.A., "Party Like A Brit"

Kimberly RipleyLife

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Today is Boxing Day. December 26 marks the day Anglophiles celebrate--well, no one really knows what they celebrate, as it varies from place to place. The origin of Boxing Day is somewhat uncertain. Some believe it started in medieval times, when churches handed out the contents of their charitable alms boxes to those in need. Some believe the tradition of handing out gifts to servants on Boxing Day began in the 19th century. Servants--most of whom worked on Christmas Day--were given the day after Christmas off, along with money and food.

Many non-Anglophiles in Southern California now "party like a Brit," according to the L.A. Times. They describe Boxing Day--in England, anyway--as "a mash-up of Black Friday, Thanksgiving and Labor Day with a twist of Super Bowl Sunday." For others it's a chance to score big bargains on after-Christmas retail sales.

Harry Campion is 16 years old and lives in England. He told the L.A. Times that Boxing Day is bigger than Christmas Day in his household.

"We like to have Christmas Day to ourselves, so we don't get dressed and spend the whole day relaxing," he said.

On Boxing Day, Campion said, "We have all our family and friends 'round to ours for a big party. My dad cooks gammon and does a roast dinner, then later mum makes more food for the new waves of guests. This goes on until 1 a.m. when everyone starts going home. It's the highlight of our holiday."

These days soccer matches are a big thing on Boxing Day in the U.K. That means the holiday for many translates into something akin to Super Bowl Sunday, with eating, drinking, and watching the games.

If you're invited to someone's Boxing Day celebration, do bring a gift. Champagne is always welcome. Christmas crackers are traditional, too.

In the U.K., poise and polish are expected. In other words, use exemplary manners when attending someone's Boxing Day bash. In Southern California, that likely isn't as important.

Do you have Boxing Day plans? Might you consider implementing the celebration in the future, perhaps as a way to extend the Christmas holiday?

Kimberly Ripley
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.