Boxing Day – How And Why You Should Celebrate It

December 26 marks the most under celebrated holiday in the United States. We all know that Americans are not averse to celebrating holidays, so why is it that so few of us celebrate Boxing Day?

The answer lies in two related concepts – ignorance and corporate sponsorship.

I know, same thing, right? Let’s continue.

Sponsored Ignorance

calendar, December 2010

Circle it on your calendar. Your calendar, not this one (Image by hichako via Flickr)

I was a boy when I first saw Boxing Day noted on the calendar. I spoke to my parents about my discovery but neither could answer my question. This was disappointing. I thought my parents knew everything.

Decades later, I have come to understand that my parents do know everything, except about Boxing Day. That exception is because of the conspiracy between the greeting card and sparking wine industries to protect their profits by making Boxing Day a non-factor as a holiday.

It’s true. The leading sponsor of Christmas, the greeting card industry, and the top sponsor of New Year’s Eve, the sparkling wine industry work together to keep you and my parents from understanding and celebrating Boxing Day. Their position is that having a strong Boxing Day holiday during the week that is framed by Christmas and New Year’s would cut in to the profits they can expect out of the holidays they’ve invested in.

Profit is not a valid reason to drop this holiday. To combat their efforts, I hope to provide you with some background on Boxing Day.

The History Of This Great Holiday

Commodus, Roman Emperor, 180-192 AD.

Punchicus The Great (Image via Wikipedia)

Boxing Day was originally a holiday started as a tribute to the ancient Roman Emperor, Punchicus Caesar. Punchicus was a benevolent ruler who was loved by his people. He had only one known vice – he bet on boxing matches.

When Punchicus died, his son decreed a holiday called Boxing Day to commemorate the fallen emperor. Early Boxing Day celebrations were marked by constant fighting.

The fights were sanctioned by the new Emperor. They served not only as a tribute to Punchicus, but as a means to settle disputes. People would challenge rivals to box them in what was called The Ring Of Mediation. Disputes settled in The Ring Of Mediation were considered resolved and enforceable in the courts.

U.S. President Grover Cleveland.

Looking for someone to blame? Here he is. (Image via Wikipedia)

Boxing Day celebrations continued through the ages. The holiday even made its way to the new world and was celebrated in the United States until it was eliminated by an Executive Order issued by President Grover Cleveland. Cleveland justified his action by saying that the fighting was getting out of hand and disorderly.

Years later, historians found that President Cleveland was in the pocket of the powerful greeting card manufacturers, who plied him with campaign donations and Asti Spumante.

Friends, I urge you to rise up against Grover Cleveland’s corruption. I don’t want boxing day to go away because President Cleveland woke up one day with some extra cash in his pocket and a terrible hangover. It isn’t too late to plan your own Boxing Day celebration.


I consulted Boxing Day advocates, and am passing on some of the great suggestions they had to help you plan your family’s celebration by honoring the contributions the sport of boxing makes to our society:

  • Begin your day by drinking 6 raw eggs like Rocky. Protein? Sure. Salmonella? Maybe.
    Bouts and Bows 2

    Why a bow tie? (Image by PanARMENIAN_Photo via Flickr)Maybe.

  • George Foreman has six sons named George. Spend all day calling everyone under 18 years old by your first name. Decide if George was an egotist, or just struck in the head way too many times.
  • Face tattoos like Mike Tyson’s are a good idea. Create some skin art on a sleeping relative using a permanent  felt tipped marker…real tattoo equipment is noisy.
  • Don’t forget to honor the societal contributions of boxing referees. Put on a long sleeve shirt and a bow tie. Go to a gym and boss around the biggest guy you can find.
  • As you begin and end any social encounter on Boxing Day, remember to say Hail Punchicus, in tribute to that good, decent, yet slightly flawed man. Everyone will respect you for not bowing down to President Cleveland.

Most of all, be spontaneous and unrestrained in your Boxing Day celebration. Consider yourself a holiday pioneer. There are no wrong answers on Boxing Day, unless you go back to not honoring the holiday. I am looking forward to hearing of all the new commitments to celebrate this joyous holiday and from Boxing Day veterans who are ready to share their holiday traditions.

Stand up for what is right!

Hail Punchicus!


23 Comments on “Boxing Day – How And Why You Should Celebrate It”

  1. Every day is “Boxing” (and pinching, and kicking) Day at our house…sigh…

    Ah, Asti Spumante…the first wine I ever drank…I’m a big girl now, and prefer red!

    We’re having our own family Christmas dinner on Boxing Day this year…it’s the only time Kaylee can make it over (and we’ll be at Jim’s parents on Christmas Eve and Day)!


  2. betty says:

    I gagged a little when I read Asti Spumante.

  3. Pauline says:

    I plan on celebrating the day by sleeping in and eating, but Wii boxing might be in the cards too. That counts right? 😉

  4. Jane says:

    The Christmas tree usually looks abandoned the day after Christmas–no gifts, lots of dry needles, one dead string of lights, etc.–so why not re-decorate it on boxing day?

    Ideas: find tiny replicas of boxing gloves, spray paint with glitter, attach blinking lights to each of the thumbs, use sweaty towels as garlands, enclose in a makeshift ring, and serve water (or something) in squirt bottles to your awe-struck guests as they hold spitty conversations through their complimentary mouthpieces.

    • omawarisan says:

      THAT is what I’m talking about!!

      I will be going around with a bucket with a sponge in it and wiping my guests faces and then yelling “stay off the ropes, he’s killing you there” at them.

  5. Hippie Cahier says:

    Did Punchicus die from salmonella?

    • omawarisan says:

      There was talk around Rome that one of his bookies got him, others think he was drinking eggs with a boxer and picked up a case of salmonella. It was a sad day for the empire!

  6. shoutabyss says:


    Personally I share your umbrage. I am acrimonious! I think we should start a movement to have the picture of President Grover Cleveland removed from $20 bill. (The largest currency I know.) Who’s with me?

  7. This is the type of hard-hitting reporting your readership has come to expect. Terrific stuff.

    There tends to be a bit of fisticuffs around here on a daily basis, so I’m sure Boxing Day will be no different, particularly after Christmas when each child will be fighting for the toys of his or her siblings.

    We’ve extended an invitation to Michael Buffer to join us as our guest of honor on the 26th. He’ll feel right at home.

    Leeeeetttttttsssssss get ready to rummmmbbblllleeee!!!!

  8. pattypunker says:

    alright i’ll run up the philadelphia museum of art stairs a la rocky. well, i’ll probably crawl due to the overindulgence from the days before.

  9. Todd Pack says:

    I remember seeing “Boxing Day (Canada)” on calendars when I was a kid and asking my teachers and my parents about it, and they said, helpfully, that it was something they celebrate in Canada, so today’s post is most appreciated and enlightening. Also, the letters in “President Grover Cleveland” can rearranged to spell “a coddling reveler prevents.” Coincidence?

    • omawarisan says:

      Coincidence? I think not. In fact, there are some historians who say his birth name was a coddling reveler prevents and was rearranged to be more conventional for political purposes.

  10. planetross says:

    Belittiling Boxing Day only makes it stronger.
    You will never get rid of it!
    It’s punched you in the face at least a dozen times while you read this.

    note: what civilized country doesn’t allow its citizens a day after Christmas … or whatever … another day of stuff? You’re lucky it’s on a Sunday this year!

  11. dottiemaggie says:

    bahahaha, congratulations on making me question everything I thought I knew about Boxing Day… 😉
    This year I’m celebrating Boxing Day by flying to visit my dad… seeing him for the third time this year, very exciting! And my brother will there! Hopefully, no boxing will occur, but I will gorge myself on christmas feast leftovers and play a rousing game of killer bunnies!

    (and, okay, no, you never quite had me questioning my boxing day knowledge. i grew up in the only province that makes it a statutory holiday, after all 😉 )

  12. […] Take a look back at my Boxing Day post. There is still time to plan your Boxing Day celebration! […]

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