The “Boxing Day” Tradition

Boxing Day 2020 with my parents

Ever since I was a child, the annual “Boxing Day” lunch has been hands down my favorite feast of the year. That’s right, it even (although only just) beats out Thanksgiving.

Of course a lot of this has to do with tradition. Boxing Day has been a family favorite my whole life. I didn’t observed my first American Thanksgiving until 1975. Granted it was a classic, with horse-riding in the deep Montana snow followed by a Norman Rockwellesque scene around a family banquet table in my friend’s home near Bozeman.

But Boxing Day lunch, built around leftover cold cuts from Christmas dinner, has all the good stuff. Great food, Christmas crackers (poppers), time to relax and enjoy all the presents, all the good vibes from Christmas still lingering in the air, time to simply enjoy one another’s company.

The Meaning of Boxing Day:

The tradition of Boxing Day came from society’s “well-to-do” boxing leftover food and other worn or excess items to give to the “less fortunate.” To be honest that idea has always struck me as a patronizing after-thought.

Today we (most of us) do much better. It is the practice of people of faith to share not leftovers but our best. Our church runs hunger initiatives year round, with an additional emphasis around the holidays. Same when it comes to clothing, toys, and other needs. The generosity we try to live is brand new, best quality – coming out of “first fruits,” rather than what is afterthought, discarded, or excess.

2020 menu:

If you’re interested, here is what I served for Boxing Day:

  • cold turkey breast;
  • cold ham;
  • hot baked potatoes,
  • salad;
  • buttermilk biscuits,
  • all the good British pickles (pickled onions, Branston pickle, salad cream, Piccalilli etc…)
  • mince pie with hot custard.

For my parents, especially, feeling with advancing age a growing sense of displacement from their roots in England, Boxing Day is not just fun but essential.

– cheers from Rebekah and Derek

This year, 2020, is winding down. It is my prayer that the season of holiday and celebration is serving to remind us all of what is important, and genuine, and meaningful, and authentic as we all look toward what the New Year may possibly bring. – DEREK

(Here are some images from past year’s Maul-Hall Boxing Day celebrations… with more family able to be present)


  1. I’m glad someone shares my unease about the original Boxing Day… and happy that for many of us it has evolved and we now want to give the firstfruits, not the leftovers. Wishing you and your family a blessed year ahead.


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