Start a Boxing Day Tradition

Donation box

Ready to celebrate Boxing Day on December 26? Put on your gloves and get ready to box—just kidding. Actually, Boxing Day has nothing to do with the sport and everything to do with the good that can come in a box.

So, what is Boxing Day and what do you do on Boxing Day? Celebrated around the world as a day to give back, Boxing Day is a wonderful opportunity to repurpose your leftover holiday boxes into donation packages. Bonus: By joining the party and paying it forward on Boxing Day, you’ll also get a jump on any New Year’s resolutions to declutter, downsize or do good for others.

Here’s a quick look at the history of Boxing Day, and how you can use your holiday boxes to celebrate.

Boxing Day Explained: A Brief History

Boxing Day became an official public holiday in the United Kingdom and many other British Commonwealth countries such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand during the rule of Queen Victoria in the 1800s. Though the root of the name Boxing Day is not certain, the most common theories center on boxes being used as a way to give back.

In the U.K., a Christmas box means the same thing as a Christmas present, but this explains only part of the puzzle behind the holiday’s name. One of the holiday’s more popular origin stories traces back to when there were lords of manors. During this period, December 26 was the day that the lords would present members of their households’ staff with Boxing Day gifts filled with items like money and leftovers from Christmas dinner. The box served as a token of recognition and thanks for working on Christmas Day.

Another theory is that Boxing Day was born out of an 800-year-old church tradition of putting out alms boxes during Advent season. These boxes were used to collect donations from parishioners and distributed to those less fortunate on December 26.

Whatever the origin, Boxing Day traditions have been observed for more than a century, and today many people around the world still use Boxing Day as a time to pack up useful items for donation and give these boxes back to their communities.

Boxing Day in the 21st Century: How Boxes Make Boxing Day Better for Everyone

This year, when December 26 rolls around, celebrate the wealth of leftover holiday boxes in your home by giving these packages a new purpose—one that also gets them out of your house. Use your boxes to collect donations for your favorite charities or a school drive. After you fill your repurposed boxes with unwanted household items or Santa’s toys from years past, take advantage of resources like Give Back Box, which provides prepaid shipping labels for you to send your reused boxes to a variety of charities.

So, as you exhale on December 26 and look around at all of your holiday boxes, just remember there’s no better time to buy in to the Boxing Day tradition and continue the legacy of using boxes to give back.