Boxing Day is recognized annually on December 26th and has been an official holiday in the UK, Ireland and Canada since 1871.
There are wide and varying answers regarding the origins of Boxing Day. Some point to the song of “Good King Wenceslas” as the origin of spirit, if not the day itself. According to the song, the 10th century duke looked out upon his land on St. Stephen’s Day (which is celebrated on December 26) and observes a poor peasant. He orders food, wine and wood for fuel to be taken to the peasant and calls for all Christian men to bless the poor in the same way.
In the Church of England, it was traditional during Advent for churches to display a donation box. After Christmas the contents of the box were distributed among the poor.
Among the aristocrats, it was traditional to give boxed gifts to their servants and employees.
Most of the events on modern Boxing Day have little to do with the charity in the stories mentioned. Popular festivities include eating leftovers, soccer games, visiting and drinking.
For me and my family, it’s a day to relax and reflect. No big meals to prepare, no last-minute gifts to wrap. It’s a day when we share together playing board games, trying and playing with our new gifts and gadgets. It’s also about the food! After Christmas Dinner this is my 2nd favorite meal of all time, the Boxing Day Leftovers! On Christmas day I always cook extra vegetables, a small cabbage and roast some beets to provide for our Boxing Day Supper.
Traditional Fayre on Boxing Day includes:
Cold leftover turkey and stuffing from Christmas Day, cold sliced ham, leftover bread and cranberry sauce served with bubble ‘n squeak, baked beans, sliced beets and pickles, (Piccalilli, Branston, Pickled onions). We also have another round of Christmas Crackers, making our Christmas a two-day celebration.
Bubble ‘n Squeak
- 1 tbsp olive oil or fat
- 15-20 cooked brussel sprouts, leftover boiled cabbage, shredded
- 400g cold leftover mashed potato
- cold crushed leftover roasted potatoes
- any other leftover vegetables such as carrots or parsnips.
- Melt the oil or fat in a non-stick pan, allow it to get nice and hot, add the sliced sprouts or cabbage and other veggies
and let it color slightly. All this will take 5-6 mins.
- Next, add the potato. Work everything together in the pan and push it down so that the mixture covers the base of the pan – allow the mixture to catch slightly on the base of the pan before turning it over and doing the same again. It’s the bits of potato that catch in the pan that define the term ‘bubble and squeak’, so be brave and let the mixture color. Cut into wedges and serve.