Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Happy Boxing Day

The day after Christmas British Commonwealth countries celebrate as “Boxing Day.” It has nothing to do with pugilism, the term is thought to have originated in the well-off giving something - perhaps money or left-overs - to the help once Christmas is past. Supposedly that something was often in a box, hence the name. It’s roots are in feudalism.

A variant of the practice persists in the eastern U.S. where a small gift of money, cigarettes or liquor to the postman and the doorman of one’s building is customary at Christmas. The practice is essentially unknown in the more egalitarian western U.S. where (a) noblesse oblige didn’t survive the break up of the hidalgo land grants and (b) doormen are uncommon.