1. There are three theories of what brought about this wonderful day.
2. Theory 1: Good King Wenceslas
According to Time Magazine the best clue to Boxing Day’s origins can be found in the song “Good King Wenceslas”. According to this traditional English Christmas carol, Wenceslas, who was Duke of Bohemia in the early 10th century was surveying his land on December 26th, also known as St. Stephen’s Day.
He saw a poor man gathering wood in the middle of a snowstorm. Deeply moved, the King gathered up surplus food and wine and carried them through the blizzard to the peasant’s door. The alms-giving tradition has always been closely associated with the Christmas season but King Wenceslas’ good deed came the day after Christmas. I guess the season of giving should not be for just one day then!
3. Theory 2: The Church Of England
The Church of England may have started off boxing day. During Advent, Anglican parishes displayed a box into which churchgoers put their monetary donations. On the day after Christmas the boxes were broken open and their contents distributed among the poor, thus giving rise to the term Boxing Day. Maybe. Seems very Oprah Winfrey-like. You get some money, you get some money, EVERYONE GETS SOME MONEEEEEEY!
4. Theory 3: Aristocracy and Servants
There’s another possibility! The day after Christmas was also the traditional day on which the aristocracy distributed presents (boxes) to servants and employees- a sort of institutionalized Christmas-bonus party. The servants returned home, opened their boxes and had a second Christmas on what became known as Boxing Day! Very Downtown Abbey!
5. So, who gets Boxing Day off?
The holiday is observed in the United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and other Commonwealth nations.