Boxing Day

boxing day

Practicing the Law of Giving is actually very simple. If you want joy, give joy to others; if you want love, learn to give love; if you want attention and appreciation, learn to give attention and appreciation. ~ Deepak Chopra

The celebration of Boxing Day has a long, rich and varied history. As a common point, the day involved the gift of a bonus of some sort to employees. In an English manor house, servants worked on Christmas Day, but were permitted to “box” up the leftovers from Christmas and carry them home to their families. No doubt this fine food was a welcome bonus to the mundane meals to which  the servant class was accustomed. Boxing also refers to servants  bringing a box to work the day after Christmas to be filled by the employer with coins and gifts.

For laborers and apprenticies of artisan shops, the day meant the smashing of the Christmas Box, a clay vessel in which coins had been deposited over a period of time by visitors, customers and the master of the shop. The Christmas Box was broken and the coins divided among the shop workers. This was considered a year end bonus and kept the master of the shop from the prickly chore of doling out performance based bonuses.

In feudal times, the serfs would gather in the manor house the day after Christmas and the manor lord would distribute boxes of useful goods to them.  The lord was obliged to gift the people who worked his land a bonus of cloth, grain and tools.  Churches also took part in Boxing Day, opening their alms box and distributing the contents to the poor.

A bonus is a wonderful thing. It’s a way to express appreciation, warmth and well wishes during the last week of the year.  But bonuses are not confined to monetary gifts or presents.  A bonus carries meaning beyond symbols.  Dole out bonuses liberally between now and the new year.  A bonus can mean a plate of cookies for your neighbor, a note card telling your agent how much you appreciate their hard work and effort or the offer to give the kid next door who got his first guitar a free lesson or two.  A bonus can make someone’s year complete. Remember: to receive joy- spread joy. To acquire appreciation – show it. To garner the best- give it.


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