The following description of Boxing day was published in the American monthly magazine, The Chautauquan in 1892 and attempts to describe the English holiday of that name.
The day after Christmas is known as “Boxing day.’ It is simply a day for the giving and receiving of Christmas boxes, in other words, Christmas presents. This custom, however, is not nearly so general there as here. In fact, the exchange of gifts by friends is scarcely a custom at all. But woe betide the housekeeper who should forget her servants on that day or who should be so stingy as to withhold a Christmas bounty from the waterman, the dustman, the lamplighter, or the postman. It will be well, moreover, for the shopkeeper to remember his customers with some Christmas box, for otherwise he is likely to lose them.
We must not forget to add that Boxing day is also a day on which the poor are specially remembered. Since the time when Charles Dickens, in his “Christmas Carol,” put old Scrooge through his terrible ghost experiences, and woke up the hard-fisted old sinner so thoroughly cured of his stinginess that he at once sent the prize turkey to Bob Cratchit’s, Christmas charity in England has taken a decidedly upward bound, and the poor, who are always to be found there in large numbers, fare as well, probably, as those of the same class in any country on earth.
In some places Molly Dancers and Merry Andrews make their appearance at this season. These are strolling players, who, attired in fantastic costumes, devote themselves chiefly to the entertainment of the little folks. And this allusion to children reminds us of the part which, in some sections of the country, the English “small boy ” plays in the celebration of Christmas. He too, like some of the older people, goes on a tour, and, in imitation of the angels, uses his voice in song ; but there is nothing angelic in either the words or the music of his performances.