Brit Dopers...Boxing Day question

I’d heard about Boxing Day for years, but never bothered to look it up. I just now did and apparently at one point it was a day when public servants went around to houses extorting tips? Is this true and is this still the case today if so? Because I find it creepy as hell if it is.

Nah, Boxing Day is when the gentry would box up gifts they didn’t want and give them to the help. No more, no less

Oh, man. I thought everybody went to boxing matches or watched on tv. Kinda like football in America. Ignorance fought.

I always thought it was a day after Christmas when servants got to go home and bring a box of food and luxuries. Am I mistaken?

the servants worked on Christmas as do I.

In Australia at least this public servant does not prowl the town extorting tips, but it seems like a good idea for Xmas 2019. Its a public holiday and most Australians who are not forced to work are usually in a post-Christmas coma, the weather outside nudging 30 deg C, watching the cricket or start of the Sydney-Hobart yacht race and wondering how soon they can get rid of unwanted presents and eating leftover ham and pudding.

Happy Day.

In Canada, Boxing Day is a public holiday and a big shopping day as well, like Black Friday. i know someone who works at Best Buy in Toronto and the early shift employees are going in at 2 AM to prepare for a 6 AM opening and doorbuster sales.

Thank you! All of the explanations given sound far, far better than the bit I read about public servants extorting money. Talk about creepy… Can you imagine the guy who read your gas meter coming around asking for a tip? :slight_smile:

A black Friday type day or a day where you give your servants your leftovers both sound far better

Old Gods’ sake, it’s *not *extortion, and to those of us for whom it’s a longstanding custom, there’s absolutely *nothing *creepy about it. It’s a social nicety, is all. The bin men aren’t going to stop picking up your bin if you didn’t give them a Christmas box. But they might ring your bell and remind you the next time you forget to put out your bin, if you did.

It’s when the charity box in the church is opened and the money given to the poor.
In Ireland it is not referred to as Boxing Day, but St Stephen’s Day.

This is not a universal UK tradition. It is in fact capricious and arbitrary.

I think it’s a fun tradition. What do you put IN the Christmas box?

Public servants? As in people who work for the local council? No. Servants getting gifts from their master, more likely. Although of course people don’t have servants any more in any true sense of the word.

So it’s now just an extra bank holiday, with sales starting for all those people who aren’t already sick of shopping. Which it turns out is loads.

I , on the other hand, took the dog and friends for a bracing country walk followed by pints in the pub. Much more civilized.

I mis-understood the reference to public servants [what we call civil servants, govt employees in Australia].

There is a tradition, far less common now of leaving a few bottles of beer for the bin-men, the postie and other workers.

Money and mince pies, in our case.

In South Africa, it’s definitely public servants - binmen, postladies and the guy who sweeps our street.

Are you guys sure you have the name right and it’s not Box Day?

I always love that holiday

Muhammad Ali

When I was very young in the early 60s, my parents gave Boxing Day tips to the various people who delivered every day - the milkman, the postman, the newspaper boy… probably the binmen, too, maybe the coalman, even if they didn’t come by that day; they’d be tipped a little on their first post-Christmas visit. I don’t remember how much the tips were, but they were probably 5/- or 10/- or so. (i.e. 25p or 50p in current coinage but it was almost 60 years ago I’m talking about)
It had been the normal thing to do as my own parents grew up (early to mid-20C Scotland), but when we moved in 1962 I think we stopped doing it and it’s almost unheard of now.

I was a paper girl in Edinburgh in the early '80s and I …think?..maybe?..I got some Christmas tips. Not enough to make a lasting impression on me obviously! But I don’t recall it being linked to Boxing Day specifically (and there were houses that only got the weekend paper - obviously those ones would have had to just go for whatever day was closest) and I’m quite sure it was only a few people, if that. But of course a custom that includes the milkman and the paper kids is really geared at delivery people, not at government employees, as such. Workers in service occupations.

These days the number one association for Boxing Day is of course - CRICKET!

And what a snooze fest the test at the MCG has been! The other two games are much more interesting.

So I’d never heard of the boxing day tradition of going to other houses to pick up boxes, growing up in Britain (leaving tips for binmen etc. But not going round soliciting for them)

But then I was talking to my in-laws from the British Caribbean this boxing day. And it is totally a tradition there. Though the boxes would have treats like fruit and candy, not cash. More like Halloween.