Demystifying Boxing Day – and Making the Holidays More Sustainable — Bridgetown Baby

What is Boxing Day? Unless you live in the UK or a Commonwealth country, it might just be a mysterious holiday that pops up on the calendar on the 26th of December.

Is it about? (Here’s a hint: it has nothing to do with the sport of boxing!) Modern Boxing Day traditions focus on time with family and friends, food, football (that is, soccer for us in the US), and…like many holidays, shopping. In countries where Boxing Day celebrations are placed on the annual calendar, the focus on retail deals is comparable to Black Friday and other holiday sales in the US.

The origins of Boxing Day are quite different than contemporary practices. There are different origin stories which claims to explain the origins of Boxing Day: a tradition in 1800s England where wealthy British families saved leftover food, gifts and money for their servants (who worked on Christmas instead of celebrating) ; a winter feast for the poor funded by donations to church alms boxes; the Bohemian King Wenceslas, moved by the plight of a poor man gathering wood on his royal estate, and delivering food and wine to the man’s house inspired a tradition of giving to St. Stephen’s Day (December 26).

Although the origin of the stories are different, they are share the theme of generosity and support for those in need.

This Boxing Day, we invite you to give generosity and support to include your local ecosystem and the global health of our planet. In the coming year, Bridgetown Baby is turning our focus to how we can do the work we do – and live the lives we live – in ways that steward the environment that all families rely on for the foundation of their welfare. Let’s think about sustainability – and modeling stewardship for our children!

In the US, more boxes (and other forms of packaging) end up in the waste stream in late December than at any other time of the year – and it’s more than the crush of pre- and post-holiday retail sales that hold back which is the carrying capacity of the planet. So, starting this Boxing Day, during the transitional period between one year and the next, here are some suggestions for ways to recycle leftovers from this season’s celebrations and think ahead to make the next set of holidays:


  • Give experiences instead of things

  • Choose wood and paper items that are recycled, recyclable or made from environmentally certified materials

  • Consider the environmental footprint of the foods you eat

  • Make a charitable contribution in someone’s honor, rather than giving a physical gift


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