Celebrated in the British Commonwealth, Boxing Day – also known as St. Stephen’s Day – has become a day of sales and shopping comparable to America’s Black Friday in November. But according to TIME Magazine, the origins of Boxing Day remain something of a mystery. Theorists have considered both the older traditions of employers giving their servants end of the year gifts on this day as well as the clergy taking boxes with the money collected from Christmas services and giving alms to the poor as possible origins.
However, some have also turned a hopeful eye to the legend of King Wenceslas. The story goes that in the 9th century, Wenceslas spotted a poor man braving a harsh winter storm to collect fire wood and was moved to battle the snow storm himself to take food and wine to the man’s home. While the truth of this story may be debatable, the custom of giving to the less fortunate during the Christmas season is one which survives to this day.
In the spirit of giving, we’re happy to provide you with the illustration below from the 1879 book of Christmas Carols, New and Old by Henry Ramsden Bramley. We hope your holiday season was filled with warmth and cheer!