According to the Oxford dictionary, the earliest use of the term “Boxing Day” was in England in the 1830s to define ‘the first week-day after Christmas-day, observed as a holiday on which postmen, errand-boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas-box’.
But to most Canadians Boxing Day is the year’s most frenzied shopping day. All the shops are open and everyone is either out returning/exchanging their Christmas gifts or out looking for mega-Boxing Day sales.
Here, Dec 26th is Santo Stefano (the feast of St.Stephens) and it is definitely NOT a shopping holiday.
Shops may be open until 8PM on Christmas Eve, which is great for last minute Christmas shopping, but if you’ve forgotten something or run out of essentials during the next 2 days you’re out-of-luck. Because, as we found out this year, when we needed essentials to finish preparing for our Dec26th dinner party, all the shops are closed on Santo Stefano. Luckily our neighbors are better stocked than many small shops and most of what we were missing we were able to pick up there. Now we know for next year…there’s no shopping on Dec 26th so if you’re going to party, better buy everything you need before Christmas…
PS: some pix of the party…too bad I can’t add the videos with the mad Italians doing karaoke…it was brutal!