A series I once watched said that Things don’t become good because they are traditions. They become traditions because they are good. Boxing Day in Canada is a tradition that goes back centuries. There is literally no common ground as to what the actual origin story is. Most experts agree that it started as a holiday, the day after Christmas when the upper class would gift the poor or show gratitude to their employees for their services and dedication. Today, it is used as a day to extend the Christmas festivities and take advantage of the multiple sales in the country. It’s like a Black Friday sale – all items are offered at lower prices with goodness at heart – for families to go shopping together, watch others ski and enjoy the day. 

Boxing Day in Canada

The history of Boxing Day goes back to the feudal times. Supposedly the ‘lord’ of the manor would ‘pay’ people who worked on his land with practical tools, food and clothing as gratitude for their services a day after Christmas. The poor would take the day as their own Christmas because they worked on actual Christmas anyway. Later this token of gratitude gradually turned into Christmas baskets, gift cards, or small gifts that all employers offered their employees for their services. 

It’s called “boxing day” simply because that’s how presents, food, money or gifts were given, wrapped in boxes. It is almost like a “second Christmas” as people offer gifts and shop for amazing deals and discounts. A great excuse to keep the holiday cheer alive and going. 

  • When is Boxing Day in Canada Celebrated?

When is Boxing Day in Canada Celebrated

People celebrate Boxing Day in Canada with huge fervour. It is celebrated on December 26 every year, the day after Christmas. Marked as a statutory holiday in multiple provinces and areas across the country, the day is special for the genuine message that it embodies. To continue with the holiday spirit one more day, boxing day is observed the next day of Christmas. 

Besides Canada, Boxing Day is celebrated in Great Britain and some Commonwealth countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, 

  • Is Boxing Day In Canada A Statutory Holiday?

Boxing Day in Canada is a statutory holiday for all employees federally regulated. But for those employees who do not work in a federally regulated industry, it may not be a Boxing Day holiday. It is not a provincial holiday in provinces like Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia. Ontario is the only province where it is a statutory holiday so everyone can enjoy it. 

Why Celebrate Boxing Day?

Why Celebrate Boxing Day

We’ve already established that Boxing Day’s origins have multiple theories behind it. There’s no knowing if any of them is completely true or if they are all getting a part of the story right. The general idea is the same, however, that it started off as giving gifts the next day of Christmas, and that’s pretty much what stays neutral. It is celebrated as a token of gratitude to everyone offering their services and help. 

  • When Church is Santa

Historical understandings suggest that Boxing Day has its roots in the Middle Ages. The churches, it’s said, used to have collection boxes that were donations from most people. So, on the day after Christmas, the churches would open these collections and distribute the donations amongst the poor as charity. They would give them the means to celebrate the festive season. Ho ho ho indeed!

  • When the ‘Lord’ is Santa

Another theory states that boxing day is related to the tradition of upper-class households giving ‘Christmas boxes’ to their servants and tradesmen as a token of appreciation for their services throughout the year. The boxes would contain food, clothing and other practical gifts for all workers, mail carriers and service providers. 

Sports and recreational activities are also associated with this day to offer an opportunity for relaxing and enjoyment following the Christmas festivities. 

All You Do On Boxing Day: Traditions

All You Do On Boxing Day Traditions

Like all celebrated holidays, Boxing Day has several traditional activities people follow. In the present, traditions like shopping, watching junior ice hockey games, mumming and partaking in the Christmas leftovers form the new Boxing Day traditions. 

  • Shopping

Boxing Day celebrations are most famously associated with shopping. Almost all businesses offer hefty discounts and sale opportunities. For many retailers, the day counts as the day with the greatest revenue. You will find long queues outside shops and malls starting in the wee hours of the morning on December 26. The culture has introduced  “Boxing Week” for various sellers, offering considerable discounts for several days. 

  • Christmas Leftovers

Another tradition that gets in the holiday spirit is feasting on Christmas leftovers with friends and family. Sit around, relax and reminisce about the year’s memories; the idea is to spend time together and bond more. The “Boxing Day Brunch” marks a leisurely meal that provides an opportunity to extend the festive cheer and make the most of the festive flavour. 

  • Mumming

“Mumming” refers to a traditional form of folk performance involving people dressing in colourful costumes, face painting or performing skits with masks. Many mummers go around their neighbourhoods on Boxing Day and add a touch of fun and lively entertainment to the celebration. 

  • Watching World Juniors Ice Hockey

Canada, as a country, already carries a large appreciation for ice hockey. The World Juniors Ice Hockey Championship begins on Boxing Day; many Canadians watch the game with family and friends. It allows them to support their national team and experience the thrill of international competition. The game also helps sparks a sense of national pride and excitement. 

Stores Onboard The Polar Express

There is hardly a store in Canada that would be too Grinch not to offer discounts and attractive deals on Boxing Day. From local businesses to larger corporations, all get on the polar express and offer the residents brilliant discounts. Here are some of the most common stores in Canada that offer great deals in harmony with the holiday spirit. 

  • Walmart

As a large corporate corporation, Walmart easily makes the list of stores offering heavy discounts and sweet deals. Electrical appliances are among the most popular goods bought around boxing day. 

  • Best Buy and Staples

Speaking of electronics, Best Buy and Staples is the go-to store. The mart boasts massive sales during Boxing Day. 

  • Canadian Tire

Canadian Tire offers fantastic bargains and deals. For those looking to get their hands on a range of items, it is best to go into the day with a little research and explore the best deals this Boxing Day in Canada, 2023. 


The holiday began with a sense of giving back something to those in need and has now evolved into an opportunity that allows people to spend more time with family and loved ones. Christmas is a special time when emotions run high. People who genuinely care about others and try to bring them happiness are similar to real-life Santas. The joy you experience from selflessly brightening someone else’s day cannot be easily taken away. If you plan to explore Boxing Day sales, we suggest researching beforehand. Here’s a helpful tip:  Whenever you encounter what appears to be the greatest offer, pause for a moment and delve a bit deeper. Most probably, you’ll stumble upon an even more remarkable deal.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Boxing Day in Canada?

Boxing Day is a public holiday observed the following day of Christmas, on December 26. It has become synonymous with major sales and discounts in Canada, and people invest in buying various products at reduced prices.

Is Boxing Day a day off in Canada?

Boxing Day is a statutory holiday in Canada for all federally regulated employees. However, you might not get a holiday if you do not work in a federally regulated field. Ontario is the only province that considers Boxing Day a public holiday, so all in Ontario can equally enjoy it. However, it is not a provincial holiday in provinces like Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia.

Where is Boxing Day in Canada celebrated?

Boxing Day is a public holiday celebrated in Canada, and the activities and traditions associated with it can vary from region to region.

What day is Boxing Day 2023?

Boxing Day 2023 will be celebrated on December 26, 2023. Boxing Day is always observed the next day of Christmas.

Why is it called Boxing Day in Canada?

Boxing Day originated as a day after Christmas when employers and the upper classes would offer their employees or the poor gifts or practical presents wrapped in boxes, hence the name.

Is Boxing Day every year?

Yes, Boxing Day is observed every year after Christmas on December 26 in Canada, the USA, and Australia.