Attention Brits, Canucks, OZ: re: Confusing the yanks with Boxing Day

As a Canadian, I can tell you that nothing confuses Americans like the concept of Boxing Day (December 26).

In Britain, Canada, Australia and most of the English-speaking world, it is usually observed as a holiday. The origin of the name is obscure, but it is believed to have something to do with opening “poor boxes” in Churches on December 26 (presumably after the people attending church on December 25 had been moved to generosity) and distributing the proceeds to those less fortunate.

But oddly enough, Americans by and large know nothing about this holiday or its name.

I have also noticed in recent years that the day after New Year’s Day, January 2, is increasingly observed as an extra day off work or as a special shopping day.

So let’s start something, shall we? I need your help here. Let’s call January 2 “Wrestling Day”. But don’t make a joke of it. Say it very seriously, as if it had always existed.

For example, the stores in Canada are mostly closed today but tomorrow, January 2, my spouse and I will be going shopping. I just made out a list and very seriously wrote “Things to buy on Wrestling Day”. I will make a effort in each store I go to tomorrow to use the term in a nonchalant manner.

If only a few people do it, it could snowball and actually become a term in English. Decades from now, etymologists would be completely confused about why the days after Christmas and New Years’ are named after combative sports.

And the most fun is that our American Cousins who scratch their heads about “Boxing Day” would now be totally confused!

I thought the day was about givin’ revenge to the Clown.

Get it? Boxing the Clown day.

Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week.

A wise Welshman once explained it to me as a day to visit all the family missed on Christmas day.

Sadly, no etymology, though.

It’s a made-up holiday, just like every other holiday.

Wrestling Day? I can give it a try.

Does anyone else get a little giggle when you watch American tv and they call it, “the day after Christmas,” and you think to yourself, “Why are they using such a clunky term for Boxing Day?” and then you remember once again that US Americans aren’t like us? :slight_smile:

Well, I for one have known for a while what Boxing Day was (we were told in elementary school it was when rich folks gave boxes of presents to the servants) although, as usual, nobody mentioned Canada, just the UK and Australia.

But I think you’re misreading American reactions. Let me quote the great Al Bundy when his friend Steve confronted him when he realized Al hadn’t told him he was going bald:

STEVE: You saw this happening and you didn’t tell me?

AL: I saw it happening and I didn’t care.


I thought we already had a wrestling day. It’s called Festivus.

I’m surprised they don’t have Boxing Day in the US. I thought it was widely understood to be “Recover from all the Christmas Day drinking” day. For much the same reason January 2 is a Public Holiday in NZ- they know that no-one is going to be in much of a condition to do any work. :wink:

In Ireland it’s called St Stephen’s Day. Boxing doesn’t come into it.

In my house we call it the daughter’s birthday. She just turned seven.

You beat me to it. I was going to say I just call it my birthday.

Leave it to a Brit boxing Day to come to the rescue as to the origins. Not me, rather Michael Quinion. Quite the genius, he is.

You’re Lavender Blue’s daughter!?!? :eek:

Isn’t it the day when rich people used to regift the crap they got the day before and didn’t like to the servants? It seems rather quaint…unless there are a lot more people who still have servants than I’d guess.

The words “Boxing Day” even sound weird in an American accent. On cable TV the other day (here in Oz), they were advertising some shows due to be broadcast on Dec 26th with some voiceover announcer who had an American accent. (Sometimes ads here have American accents for no reason I can understand except that boundless excessive enthusiasm for a product seems to sound less dorky than similar sentiments expressed in the local accent.)

Anyway, said voiceover bloke was telling us repeatedly that said shows were on on Boxing Day. For some reason it really jarred. You never hear genuine Americans say that.

And one of the great things about living in the southern hemisphere is that it is summer at Christmas, which means that for all practical purposes except retail shopping, it is a public holiday from Dec 25 - Jan 1. Better still, in truth work starts to wind down and the endless parties commence around Melbourne Cup Day (in early November). Yay, us.

So to us southerners, there is no need to invent Wrestling Day.

We calls it St. Stephen’s Day and it really grates when a British chain with Irish stores advertises Boxing Day sales or whatnot.

I’m glad I’m not the only one who has noticed a sudden increase in ads here with American accents for no discernable reason. It’s extremely weird IMHO.

Well, if you are used to a Ning Nang Nong accent, I imagine any other accent is going to sound weird.

Unlike the US, though, we have exposure to quite a wide variety of accents on our TV here. Foreign accents don’t generally sound “weird” to us they way they seem to do to people in the US.

Hate to break it to you but Williams Lake BC has been celibrating Wrestling Day since1938 and made it a Municipal Bylaw in 1943 which was observed until 1986.

An article from the Williams Lake Museum warning pdf