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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

This month in history: Bring back Boxing Day

Many Goff & Howard team members are avid history aficionados, and having recently graduated from college with a degree in history, I have decided to share Goff & Howard’s love for history with you each month. I hope you’ll indulge this momentary change of pace from our normal industry-related topics.

Boxing Day, which falls on December 26, is a holiday that has always perplexed me. The holiday seems to have been misnamed, because contrary to my belief as a little kid, it is not a day full of boxing matches. This holiday season, I pledge to unearth the meaning of this mysterious holiday.

Although the exact origin of Boxing Day is unknown, the holiday stems from an old tradition begun by the British elite. The day after Christmas, members of the upper class would give small gifts and money to their servants. The holiday got its name from the earthenware boxes in which the servants would receive their gifts.

Boxing Day, which was originally meant to preserve class lines, has transformed into a more modern philanthropic day in which people donate money to charities. The holiday is officially celebrated in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Germany, Greenland, and New Zealand. The United States also observed Boxing Day before declaring independence from Britain and renouncing all traditional British holidays.

I think it’s about time we start celebrating Boxing Day again. This holiday season, charitable giving in the United States has decreased while demand for services has more than doubled for some nonprofits. So, please join me in donating much needed money, food or gifts to your favorite charity on December 26.