Boxing Day


                                          Gift box                   


The 26th of December, also called St. Stephen's Day.

Boxing Day is a public holiday that forms part of the Christmas festivities in most of the countries that were once part of the British Empire. It was originally the first working day after Christmas Day, but is now always celebrated on December 26th, regardless of which day of the week it falls.


Christmas boxes were originally literally earthenware boxes. In mediaeval England, these boxes were used by the poor (servants, apprentices etc.) to save money throughout the year. At Christmas, the boxes were broken open and the savings shared to fund Christmas festivities. This meaning of Christmas box dates back to at least the early 17th century. The boxes were known in France as tirelire.

In a similar tradition, which is almost as old as the above and which is the one that has stayed with us until the present day, Christmas boxes were gifts, usually money, given to tradespeople or others who have rendered some service throughout the year but who aren't normally paid directly by the donor - for example, office cleaners, milkmen etc.

So, why is Boxing Day so called?

 Sporting fixtures, which used regularly to include boxing, have taken place over the holiday season for centuries. :
On boxing-day, Dec. 26, a numerous assemblage of the holiday folk were amused by a hard fought battle, in St. Pancras-fields. This fight was one that afforded plenty of diversion to several pugilists and admirers of the art present.
Nevertheless, the link to boxing in that citation is just co-incidence and the origin of the name is the giving of 'Christmas box' gifts to tradespeople, which traditionally took place, not on Christmas Day, but on the first subsequent working day.

When is Boxing Day?:

Boxing Day is the 26th December and is a national holiday in the UK and Ireland.

Why is it Called Boxing Day:

Arguments abound on the origins of the name Boxing Day :--

* A ‘Christmas Box’ in Britain is a name for a Christmas present.

* Boxing Day was a day off for servants and when they received a ‘Christmas Box’ from the master. The servants would also go home to give ‘Christmas Boxes’ to their families.

* A box to collect money for the poor was placed in Churches on Christmas day then opened the next day.

* Great sailing ships when setting sail would have a sealed box containing money on board for good luck.If the voyage were a success the box was given to a priest, opened at Christmas and the contents given to the poor.

Where is Boxing Day celebrated?:

Boxing Day is celebrated in Australia, Britain, New Zealand, and Canada

How is Boxing Day celebrated?:

There seems to be two theories on the origin of Boxing Day and why it is celebrated. The first is that centuries ago, on the day after Christmas, members of the merchant class would give boxes containing food and fruit, clothing, and/or money to trades people and servants. The gifts were an expression of gratitude much like when people receive bonuses, from their employer, for a job well done, today. These gifts, given in boxes, gave the holiday it's name, "Boxing Day".

Today, Boxing Day is spent with family and friends with lots of food and sharing of friendship and love. Government buildings and small businesses are closed but the malls are open and filled with people exchanging gifts or buying reduced priced Christmas gifts, cards, and decorations.

Activities on Boxing Day:

* Boxing Day is a time to spend with family or friends, usually those not seen on Christmas Day itself.

* In recent times the day has become synonymous with sport. Horse racing is particularly popular with meets all over the country. Many top football teams also play on Boxing Day.

* Boxing Day is also a time when the British show their true eccentricity taking part in all kinds of silly activities like swimming the English Channel - not the warmest place on December 26th - fun runs and charity events.

Activities on Boxing Day:

(1)  Fox Hunting :

Until 2004, Boxing Day hunts were a traditional part of Boxing Day but the ban on fox hunting has put an end to the hunt in its traditional sense. Hunters will still gather dressed resplendently in red hunting coats to the sound of the hunting horn but it is now forbidden in law to chase the fox with dogs, so the dogs now follow artificially laid trails.

(2)  Shopping :

Another ‘sport’ to emerge in recent years is shopping. Sadly what was once a day of relaxation and family time sees the start of the sales. Sales used to start in January post-New Year but the desire to grab a bargain and for shops to off-load stock means many now start on Boxing Day.

(3) Food and Drink on Boxing Day :

With guests often popping in for a snack and quick drink, the food and drink on Boxing Day is more relaxed than Christmas Day. Lunch will usually be a buffet or leftovers from Christmas lunch. Baked Ham is a popular Boxing Day meat and of course, Mince Pies with Brandy Butter or a slice of Christmas Cake are almost obligatory.

The Boxing Day Test match:

The Boxing Day Test match is a cricket Test match hosted in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia involving the Australian cricket team and an opposing national team which is touring Australia that summer. It begins annually on Boxing Day (26 December) and is played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Every four years, the Boxing Day Test forms part of the 5-match Ashes series with England

Boxing Day Recipes:

(1) Gammon with Apricot Stuffing Recipe
(2) Mince Pie Recipe
(3) Peanut butter cup Cookies

(1) Gammon with Apricot Stuffing Recipe;

Gammon is raw, cured bacon leg cut and only called ham when it is cooked. A Baked ham is always a favorite at Christmas and perfect for Boxing Day buffets or an Easter lunch.

Gammon with Apricot Stuffing Recipe is a wonderful take on the traditional baked ham with a fruity, apricot stuffing.

Baked, stuffed hams are believed to have originated in the Cotswolds centuries ago with Ham Stuffed with Apricots based on a medieval dish from Oxfordshire.

The American style glazed crust is infinitely preferable to the original British flour and water crust as it adds sweetness and flavor to the ham.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes


* 6lb / 2.7kg piece of gammon (boned and loosely rolled, )
* ½pint/ 200ml red wine
* 2 bay leaves
* ½lb/ 250g fresh apricots or dried and soaked in cold water
* Cloves
* 3 tbsps Demerara sugar


* Put the gammon into a large basin and add the wine and bay leaves. Cover and leave to marinate for at least 6 hours, turning the gammon from time to time.

* Heat the oven to 350F/175C/ Gas 4

* then dry the fresh apricots, cut them in two and remove the stones. If using soaked dried apricots, pat dry and cut in two and remove the stones. If using soaked dried apricots, pat dry and cut in two.Remove the meat from the marinade and put to one side. Put the wine, bay leaves and apricots in to a saucepan and simmer until the apricots are soft and have absorbed the wine, approx 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and let the apricots cool slightly

* Dry the gammon thoroughly. Stuff as many of the apricots as possible into theopening of the gammon.
* Wrap the gammon with a double layer of foil and make a slit in the top to allow the steam to escape. Place the wrapped gammon in a baking tin and roast in the oven for 2 hours.

* Remove the gammon from the oven and raise the temperature to 425F/220C/Gas 7. Unwrap the foil and and leave the gammon to cool slightly. Using a sharp knife remove the skin on the gammon leaving a layer of covering fat no more than 1/8". Lightly slash the fat diagonally ¾" apart in both directions to create a diamond pattern and stud the center of each diamond with a clove.

* Smear the sugar firmly over the gammon then put the gammon uncovered into a roasting tin. Bake in the hot oven for 15 mins or until the sugar has melted and turned a golden brown.
The gammon can be prepared a day or two in advance and stored in the refrigerator unsliced. Don't carve until needed or the ham will lose its color.
The gammon can be served hot in thick slices with boiled potatoes or cold in thinner slices with chutney, pickles and salad or in sandwiches. 


 Always check if the gammon you buy needs to be soaked before cooking to remove the saltiness. Many supermarkets use a milder cure and won't need soaking.


(2) Mince Pie Recipe:

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes


* 12 oz/350g all purpose/plain flour
* Pinch of salt
* 8oz/ 225g butter, cubed or an equal mix of butter and lard
* 1 beaten egg + 1 cold water as needed
* 1 jar of mincemeat, shop bought or home made
* 2 tbsp icing sugar


Heat the oven to 400°F/205°C/Gas 6

Make the Pastry:

* Place the flour, butter and salt into a large clean bowl.
* Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, working as quickly as possible to prevent the dough becoming warm.
* Add the egg to the mixture and using a cold knife stir, add cold water a teaspoon at a time until the mixture binds but don't make it too wet that it is sticky.
* Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of 15 minutes, up to 30 minutes.
The dough can also be made in a food processor by mixing the flour, butter and salt in the bowl of the processor on a pulse setting. When the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, add the egg a slowly, through the funnel until the dough, then add water a tsp at a time until the dough comes together in a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill as above.

Assemble the Pies:

* Choose a muffin or bun tin for the size of the pie you want. Choose from a standard 12-cup muffin tin down to small canapé size. The number of pies will depend on the size of cup you choose.

* Dust a work surface lightly with a little flour and roll out two-thirds of the pastry to 1/8"/3mm thick. Cut circles to line the cups of your tin, don't worry if the pastry doesn't come to the top.

* Fill the pastry lined tins 2/3 full with mincemeat.

* Roll out the remaining pastry to the same thickness and cut smaller circles to fit as lids on the tarts or to be decorative, cut stars or other fancy shapes.

* Dampen the edges of the tart bases with a little cold water and press the lids on. Make a small hole in the surface of each pie with a small sharp knife to allow the steam to escape (you can omit this if using star-shaped lids).

* Bake in the preheated oven for 20 mins (15 mins if making canape size) or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the icing sugar.

Mince pies are delicious served hot or cold on their own or with Brandy Butter. They will keep well if placed in an airtight tin - up to seven days. Sometimes they benefit from a gentle warming in the oven before serving.


(3)  Peanut butter cup Cookies;

Everyone loves these peanut butter cup cookies. They have miniature peanut butter cups inside a peanut butter cookie shell. And they're lots of fun to make with the kids, too. To keep the chocolate and peanut butter from melting into the cookie dough base, freeze the peanut butter cups for at least 20 minutes.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 11 minutes
Total Time: 26 minutes
Yield: 20-30 cookies


* 36-48 miniature peanut butter cups
* 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
* 1 tsp. baking soda
* 1/3 cup butter
* 3/4 cup peanut butter
* 1/2 cup white sugar
* 1/2 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
* 1 egg, lightly beaten
* 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract


1.Place peanut butter cups in the freezer (there's no need to unwrap them; just place the whole bag in the freezer) for 20 minutes.

2.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

3.In a small bowl, whisk together the flours and baking soda. Set aside.

4.Cream the butter, peanut butter, and sugars together. Beat in the egg and vanilla
5.Add the flour mixture. Mix until a soft dough forms.

6.Shape into 1-inch balls. Press dough balls into ungreased mini muffin tins, making an indentation in the middle with your thumb.

7.Bake in preheated oven for 8-11 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press a miniature peanut butter cup in the center of each cookie.

8.Cool and remove from pan


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