Christmas may be over, but around the world people also celebrated the day after Christmas – Boxing Day. In Medieval Europe, the poor received their alms and donations the day after Christmas, as did servants and employees of the wealthy aristocracy, resulting in two possible origins of the “Boxing Day” holiday.
In fact, the popular “Good King Wenceslas” Christmas carol may provide the “best clue to Boxing Day’s origin.” A wealthy duke, Wenceslas was riding his property the day after Christmas when he found a poor peasant gathering wood in a snowstorm. Moved, he returned to the peasant’s door with extra food and drink, thus beginning a tradition of almsgiving. Click here to listen to the carol.
Today, Boxing Day is celebrated in many different ways, including soccer matches, visits with family and friends, food, and of course, shopping. In the UK, Boxing Day has become the equivalent of Black Friday in the United States, with a plethora of deals and sales for the savvy shopper. Still, many are beginning to call for a “return as a day of giving.” Judith Flanders writes for the New York Times that she suggests “one day a year to donate skills or effort, a day for sharing something of value in the larger community.”
Here at TLC we love her suggestion, and have two great ways that our members can participate and start their own Boxing Day tradition. First, in addition to monetary gifts , did you know that TLC members can give in-kind donations? This includes anything from vehicles to wading boots, but also specific services, such as writing, event photography, and professional services such as legal, financial, and accounting expertise. Want to learn more about how your skills could help improve lives through conservation? Check out our In-Kind Giving page!
Second, TLC is gearing up for our annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service volunteer event at the Horton Grove Nature Preserve in Durham County on January 19th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Volunteers will help with trail building, clearing debris, and signage switch outs as well as enjoy hiking along the trails and some sweet treats! Learn more here, and sign up today! Registration is required and limited.