Families play on the snow-covered slopes at Barnett Demesne Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland
© Stephen Barnes/Alam
Happy Boxing Day!
That 'Boxing Day (UK)' printed on your calendar's December 26 square has nothing to do with the sport of boxing—although for many modern Brits, Aussies, and other denizens of the Commonwealth, the holiday's full slate of TV sporting events is the main observance. Folks with enough post-holiday energy might even slide down the hills on the grounds of this historic estate-turned public park, Barnett Demesne, in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
But in older traditions, December 26 was the day nobles and other property owners offered gifts to servants and employees. It's not clear if 'boxing' refers to the boxes that held these presents, or to donation boxes customarily set up for the poor on the holiday—nor if these were so much gifts as reminders of one's place on the feudal social ladder. But at any rate, as you shop the big sales and munch those tasty leftovers today, consider paying homage to Boxing Day's origins by doing a good turn for someone down on their luck.