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L2F Nov 17 London Ice Skating by Glenn Brunette Flickr commercial license

So you’re in the capital of merry olde England for the winter holidays, enjoying the festive lights and good cheer, and suddenly you realize that your British friends are off on the day after Christmas for something called Boxing Day. Setting aside any jealousy over a work-free day many of us don’t share, you wonder what this “boxing” thing could possibly be. Are there matches scheduled around London? Where are the rings, and how do you get tickets?

Well, Boxing Day has nothing to do with grown men pummeling each other in public, old chap. In the U.K., as in much of the British Commonwealth, December 26th is an official holiday that harks back to a time when servants of various kinds received a gratuity for a year of good service in a “Christmas box“. These days, however, the date is better known for other types of pursuits, many of which you may find enjoyable during your visit (many Londoners, for their part, take the chance to spend much of the day in pubs!).

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