Boxing Day

Christmas was nice. My sister-out-law Eva is a holiday enthusiast, thank goodness. Despite the poo-poos from others, she put up a beautiful Christmas tree last month and she and her hubby host Christmas lunch.  The table looked beautiful and there was lots of delicious food including pork, lamb, prawns, scalloped potatoes (I loved these), roasted veggies, and several sweets for dessert such as apple pie (for me), lamingtons, cake, and Christmas pudding (it’s not really pudding and it’s definitely not for me) with vanilla ice cream, custard (which is different from what Americans generally refer to as custard), and other creams for pouring over them.

Today is Boxing Day. The origin of this day is obscure, but may have it’s origins in a British custom where tradesmen collected Christmas boxes of money or gifts on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year. If you ask people what’s behind Boxing Day, most will say they don’t know. What they do know, however, is that stores have major sales today. That’s right, folks, Boxing Day is about shopping!

Boxing Day shoppers lined up early. Picture: Sarah Matray Source: Herald Sun

Boxing Day shoppers lined up early. Picture: Sarah Matray Source: Herald Sun

I’m told Boxing Day compares to the American Black Friday. Stores open as early as 5am and have dramatic price reductions. Retailers predict Australians will spend $2.5 billion dollars today alone. It’s a critical day for retailers.

I appreciate a sale anytime, but I would have appreciated a big sale a lot more before Christmas. I never go to Black Friday sales though. I don’t like that workers are pulled away from their families so soon after Thanksgiving (sometimes still during Thanksgiving) and I really don’t like the chaos that ensues. Boxing Day is a little better in this regard since it takes place after the holidays and, perhaps not surprisingly, I haven’t seen any reports of injuries.

Do you shop on Black Friday or Boxing Day? What kind of bargains are you looking for?




  1. I’m not a big shopper, and I hate big sale days. When I was younger, all stores were shut on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Shops still stay closed in some states, but not in Victoria. We had an American guest for Christmas, and he asked us the origin of the holiday and I couldn’t answer him! Shame he didn’t wait until I’d read your blog.
    I remember being disappointed the first time I tried an American pudding, and when I read this post, I had to think back to remember what the word means to you. An Australian pudding is cooked in a very different way to a cake, but I guess you’re right – they are similar to cakes.
    I’m glad you had a nice day and hope you connected with your family on their Christmas Day..

    • I enjoy shopping, but not shopping for shopping’s sake, just if I need or want something in particular. I hate crowded shopping centers and prefer to go shopping with the mall opens and be out by lunch. As for the Christmas pudding, Theo called it fruit cake, which is probably what we’d call it in the U.S. too.

  2. I thought Boxing Day was a Christmas tradition started in England in which people who had servants/help working for them in the house got off and received presents from their employers. I could be totally making this up though…

  3. Amelie88 appears to be the closest to the correct answer for Boxing Day – the servants would have worked on Christmas day, and the next day was theirs (my understanding). Re: Christmas Pudding – the closest thing we have to it in the U.S., is ‘fruit cake’ – of course, you would know by now that the Christmas Pudding is steamed. We always joke that no one actually eats fruit cake in the U.S., it seems to be sold in order to be passed around house to house via re-gifting, or if all else fails it can become a very good door-stop! 😉 Personally, I don’t care much for Christmas Pudding as I am not big on cooked dried fruit, but my mother-in-law used to make a WONDERFUL Sego Pudding, which was delightful, and she served it with custard and cream (not whipped) as well. During preparation, she would put an original three pence coin – pronounced thruh pence. The person who got the serving with the thruh pence was considered to be the lucky one for the day and got to keep the coin. Of course, by the time I came in to her life, she had to recover and recycle the coin for the following year as they no longer were being minted. Glad you had a nice first Christmas in Oz!

    • Haha! That’s so true about passing the fruit cake around. My sister-out-law looooves the Christmas pudding and it was the one food she wouldn’t share. That’s okay with me!

  4. Oh, and I forgot to say that they called desert ‘pudding’ – ask any New Zealander what they are having for ‘pudding’ (afters) and they will know to what you refer. Also, dinner is ‘Tea’ – what are you having for tea – the response could be stew! Supper is a light meal if having had a large lunch, or evening soirée’ will usually include ‘supper’. And, of course, the word dinner is commonly used too.

  5. In Holland we celebrate 2nd Christmas Day. I don’t know where this custom came frome. We have major sales direct after Christmas, however these are not that crazy as in the US. Because shops do have their own sales throughout the year. If I’m looking for a bargain, it’s for things I really want to have or need.

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