12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS: Originating in medieval times, Boxing Day gives English the chance to exchange presents even after Christmas

(Photo used by permission of Collinwood)
Sophomore Chloé Collinwood (bottom left) sits on her sister’s lap next to her mother and brother near London in 2008.

Cultures around the world have special ways of celebrating the holiday season. In the “12 Days of Christmas” series, sophomores Jack Christian and Allison Zhang will interview students and teachers on their international Christmas experiences. Check back tomorrow to hear about Christmas in Mexico from senior Jesus Galindo Sanchez.

Christmas in England is cold, according to sophomore Chloé Collinwood, who lived in England until sixth grade.

“It’s just freezing,” Collinwood said, “nothing like the weather we have here in America.”

On Christmas Eve in England, people usually go to a church service or a play, then head to a party afterward.

“The parents drink malt wine, and everyone just hangs out,” Collinwood said.

And after the party, the children are allowed to open one present before going to bed.

“It was always a struggle to just open one present,” Collinwood said. “I wanted to open them all.”

Christmas Day is just like Christmas in America.

Everyone wakes up in the morning, opens presents, then has a nice dinner in the afternoon.

But what is really different in England is Dec. 26, which is almost as important as Christmas!

“The day after Christmas we (have) Boxing Day,” Collinwood said.

“Boxing Day comes from feudal times when the lords would give their servants leftover clothes and food in boxes.”

So on the day after Christmas, everyone goes to a big party and exchanges “boxes” or presents with each other.

“We also don’t decorate for Christmas as much in England,” Collinwood said.

 “You might only find one little area in London that was really decorated for Christmas.”

By Jack Christian

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