Boxing Day is a holiday celebrated on the day following Christmas Day in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth nations. Boxing Day occurs on 26 December, although the attached bank holiday or public holiday may take place either on that day or a day later.
In the liturgical calendar of Western Christianity, Boxing Day is the second day of Christmastide, and also St. Stephen’s Day. In some European countries, notably Germany, Poland, the Netherlands and the Nordic countries, 26 December is celebrated as a Second Christmas Day. Here are competing theories for the origins of the term, none of which are definitive. as “the first week-day after Christmas-day, observed as a holiday on which post-men, errand-boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas-box”.
In Canada, Boxing Day is a federal statutory holiday. Government offices, banks and post offices delivery are closed. In some Canadian provinces, Boxing Day is a statutory holiday that is always celebrated on 26 December. In Canadian provinces where Boxing Day was a statutory holiday, and it falls on a Saturday or Sunday, compensation days are given in the following week.
In the United States, 26 December is given as a holiday to state employees in some, mainly southern, states: Kansas,Kentucky,North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas but it is not known as Boxing Day. In the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, Boxing Day is primarily known as a shopping holiday, much like Black Friday the day after Thanksgiving in the United States. Boxing Day sales are common in Canada. It is a time when shops hold sales often with dramatic price reductions. For many merchants, Boxing Day has become the day of the year with the greatest revenue.
Boxing Week is a period of six days or more that starts with Boxing Day on December 26 and ends with New Year’s Eve on December 31. The term was invented by the retail industry around the mid-2000s as an attempt to extend their Boxing Day sales. Boxing Day is a national holiday in Great Britain. It is the time where British families spend time with each other, if they were not able to bond during Christmas Day. What used to be Boxing Day has evolved into Boxing Week for most stores. It is the biggest week of the year for clothing companies.Since it only has six days, and since some retailers extend their sales beyond that time period, it is not strictly a week. This results in huge line ups at retailers.
Many retailers open very early typically 5 am or even earlier and offer door buster deals and loss leaders to draw people to their stores. It is not uncommon for long queues to form early in the morning of 26 December, hours before the opening of shops holding the big sales, especially at big-box consumer electronics retailers. Many stores have a limited quantity of big draw or deeply discounted items. Because of the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, many choose to stay at home and avoid the hectic shopping experience.
The local media often cover the event, mentioning how early the shoppers began queuing up, and showing video of shoppers queuing and later leaving with their purchased items. Many retailers have implemented practises aimed at managing large numbers of shoppers. They may limit entrances, restrict the number of patrons in a store at a time, provide tickets to people at the head of the queue to guarantee them a hot ticket item or canvass queued-up shoppers to inform them of inventory limitations.
In recent years, retailers have expanded deals to “Boxing Week”. While Boxing Day is 26 December, many retailers will run the sales for several days before or after 26 December, often up to New Year’s Eve. Notably, in the recession of late 2008, a record number of retailers were holding early promotions due to a weak economy.
Canada’s Boxing Day has often been compared with the American Super Saturday the Saturday before Christmas and Black Friday. In some areas of Canada, particularly in Atlantic Canada and parts of Northern Ontario, most retailers are prohibited from opening on Boxing Day, either by provincial law or by municipal by law, or instead by informal agreement among major retailers to provide a day of relaxation following Christmas Day. Many retailers with both on-line and High Street stores launched their on-line sales on Christmas Eve and their High Street sales on Boxing Day.