Boxing Day in United Kingdom

Quick Facts

Boxing Day is a holiday in the United Kingdom that falls on December 26 each year.

Name

Boxing Day

Alternative name

2nd day of Christmas

Boxing Day 2014

Friday, December 26, 2014

Boxing Day 2015

Saturday, December 26, 2015
List of dates for other years

Boxing Day in the United Kingdom is the day after Christmas Day and falls on December 26. Traditionally, it was a day when employers distributed money, food, cloth (material) or other valuable goods to their employees. In modern times, it is an important day for sporting events and the start of the post-Christmas sales.

Boxing Day

Boxing Day is traditionally day for sporting events such as fox hunting with dogs (which is now outlawed).

©iStockphoto.com/RUDI TAPPER

What do people do?

For many people Boxing Day is a time to recover from the excesses of Christmas day and an opportunity to spent time with family, friends and neighbors. Some people choose to go for a walk in the countryside, while other flock to the post-Christmas sales in large stores that often begin on Boxing Day. Some people even spend part of the night and early morning queuing to get into the stores when the best bargains are still available.

Boxing Day is also an important day for sports events. Traditionally, using dogs to hunt for foxes was a popular sport amongst the upper classes. Pictures of hunters on horseback dressed in red coats and surrounded by hunting dogs are often seen as symbolic of Boxing Day. Nowadays, fox hunting is outlawed. Horse racing and football (soccer) are now popular sports.

Public life

Boxing Day is a bank holiday. If Boxing Day falls on a Saturday, the following Monday is a bank holiday. If Christmas Day falls on a Saturday, the following Monday and Tuesday are bank holidays. All schools and many organizations are closed in this period. Some may close for the whole week between Christmas and New Year.

Many stores are open and now start their post-Christmas sales on Boxing Day. This makes December 26 a very important day for many retailers. Many public transport services run on special timetables. Many people travel to visit family or friends in this period, so bus, plane and train services can be very busy.

Background and symbols

There are a number of stories behind the origin of the term 'Boxing Day'. It used to be customary for employers to give their employees or servants a gift of money or food in a small box on this day. This is still customary for people who deliver letters or newspapers, although the gift may be given before Christmas Day. In feudal times, the lord of the manor would gather all those who worked on his land together on this day and distribute boxes of practical goods, such as agricultural tools, food and cloth. This was payment for the work that they had done throughout the passed year.

Other stories relate to servants being allowed to take a portion of the food left over from the Christmas celebrations in a box to their families and the distribution of alms from the Church collection box to poor parishioners. These traditions have evolved into the Christmas hampers that many large employers distribute, although these are now often distributed in the week before Christmas.

Boxing Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is observed
WedDec 261990Boxing DayBank holiday 
ThuDec 261991Boxing DayBank holiday 
SatDec 261992Boxing DayBank holiday 
SunDec 261993Boxing DayBank holiday 
TueDec 281993Boxing Day observedBank holiday 
MonDec 261994Boxing DayBank holiday 
TueDec 261995Boxing DayBank holiday 
ThuDec 261996Boxing DayBank holiday 
FriDec 261997Boxing DayBank holiday 
SatDec 261998Boxing DayBank holiday 
SunDec 261999Boxing DayBank holiday 
TueDec 281999Boxing Day observedBank holiday 
TueDec 262000Boxing DayBank holiday 
WedDec 262001Boxing DayBank holiday 
ThuDec 262002Boxing DayBank holiday 
FriDec 262003Boxing DayBank holiday 
SunDec 262004Boxing DayBank holiday 
TueDec 282004Boxing Day observedBank holiday 
MonDec 262005Boxing DayBank holiday 
TueDec 262006Boxing DayBank holiday 
WedDec 262007Boxing DayBank holiday 
FriDec 262008Boxing DayBank holiday 
SatDec 262009Boxing DayBank holiday 
SunDec 262010Boxing DayBank holiday 
TueDec 282010Boxing Day observedBank holiday 
MonDec 262011Boxing DayBank holiday 
WedDec 262012Boxing DayBank holiday 
ThuDec 262013Boxing DayBank holiday 
FriDec 262014Boxing DayBank holiday 
SatDec 262015Boxing DayBank holiday 
MonDec 262016Boxing DayBank holiday 
TueDec 262017Boxing DayBank holiday 
WedDec 262018Boxing DayBank holiday 
ThuDec 262019Boxing DayBank holiday 
SatDec 262020Boxing DayBank holiday 

Related holidays

Other holidays in December 2014 in United Kingdom

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