Boxing Day

Boxing Day is still celebrated in England. It is the day after Christmas (St. Stephen’s Day), when servants and tradesmen traditionally receive gifts known as a “Christmas box” from their masters and employers. As far back as 1668, Samuel Pepys complained in his diary: “Called up by drums & trumpets; these things & boxes having cost me much money this Christmas.”


To ye Gentlemen and Ladies:
The day after Christmas is not one to celebrate
Unless, one is a tradesman or a servant
Who waits patiently at the back gate

Listening politely to the laughter
Inside his or her benefactor’s stately home
Stamping well-worn shoes
Rubbing white cheeks and wiping a red nose
While the snow blows about
Earnestly, hat in hand or head bowed, waiting for a box

And ready to reply,
If I may, I am, dear sir or madam, with zeal most fervent,
Your much indebted, humble servant.

“Nay,” Robert Burns would say,
A gentleman or gentle lady is not a poor man’s friend
Who waits until the end of the year
To give one a box
On St. Stephen’s Day
Better yet,
Feed a man with work
Treat a lady with dignity
And warm a heart with kindness
Every day and not just once.


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