Your guide to Canadian Boxing Day

Jim Gustke profile image December 24, 2019 | 5 min read

It’s easy to take Canadian Boxing Day for granted. It shows up on the calendar and we know that it’s a federal holiday in Canada, but what exactly is Boxing Day, what are its traditions and how do you celebrate? Let’s find out.

When is Boxing Day?

Boxing Day is on December 26, the day after Christmas. In 2019, the day falls on a Thursday.

What is Boxing Day?

It’s a secular holiday that occurs during the year-end holiday season.

Although Boxing Day is celebrated in many countries, it originated in the United Kingdom. The holiday remains a tradition in many places that were formerly part of the British Empire.

In Canada, Boxing Day is a public holiday in eight out of 10 provinces or territories. Banks, government offices and mail delivery are closed. However, it’s not a statutory holiday in Alberta and British Columbia, where it’s a working day for many people.

Shops and attractions are mostly open throughout Canada, except for some communities within New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. Throughout most of Canada, stores open on time or earlier, and sales could extend throughout Boxing Week.

What’s the history of Boxing Day?

There is some debate about the origins of Boxing Day.

Historians at the Oxford English Dictionary have traced the holiday back to 1833 when it first appeared in print.

The holiday likely has roots in charity and giving. One theory is that December 26th, also known as St. Stephen’s Day, was when the church distributed donations to the poor. These charitable gifts were collected throughout the Christmas season via alms boxes.

Another theory is on the day after Christmas, lords and aristocrats distributed holiday boxes to their servants and employees. Similar to holiday bonuses, Boxing Day gifts could have included money, small gifts such as a child’s toy, or leftover food from Christmas dinner.

Boxing Day traditions in Canada.

Some Boxing Day traditions didn’t carry over to Canada. For example, Canadians likely won’t spend the day fox hunting, as was popular in the U.K. for many years. Nor will Canadians be dancing in the streets to live music, which is how the Caribbeans celebrate Boxing Day.

Boxing Day in Canada has become a shopping day similar to Black Friday, with great deals to be found by after-Christmas shoppers. About 34% of Canadians will be shopping on Boxing Day this year. That’s a bit less than Black Friday, when 43% of Canadians shopped.

It’s also a popular holiday for sports. This year, the big Canadian hockey games to watch on Boxing Day are:

Canada vs Czech Republic: 2019 Spengler Cup in Davos Canada vs Russia: 2020 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship in Bratislava Canada vs USA: 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ostrava

Today, many Canadians choose to spend the holiday with family and friends, celebrating together and preserving their own traditions.

Boxing Day parties and gatherings

Boxing Day parties are a popular way to enjoy the company of family and friends.

It’s common to host a Boxing Day brunch, showcasing the leftovers from Christmas dinner in new ways such as casseroles or sandwiches with ham or roast beef. In Canada, there are also throwbacks to the holiday’s British origins with servings of Yorkshire pudding. A featured recipe on the Great British Baking Show was a Hand-raised Boxing Day Pie, which contained turkey, cranberry sauce and leftover stuffing.

Common drinks at Boxing Day parties include red wines or ginger cocktails. However, a pint of beer at the pub is also a popular way to celebrate.

Celebrating Boxing Day with family and friends.

Boxing Day is a holiday that’s frequently spent with family and friends, and it can be difficult when loved ones live far away.

An AARP survey found that 31% of people have felt lonely during the holiday season, and 41% have been worried about the loneliness of a family member or friend. Loneliness rates are higher among older adults. Amont those aged 60 and older, 43% have reported feeling lonely.

However, even when you can’t celebrate Boxing Day with the people you care about, today’s communication technology makes it easier than ever to stay connected.

A phone call can be a meaningful way to catch up and preserve relationships. Phone calls can be especially important for the elderly or isolated, having a tremendous impact on their well being.

Boxing Day deals: Get started with Ooma.

To help you stay better connected to the people you care about, Ooma’s Boxing Day sale includes a limited time offer on the Ooma Telo. You can purchase the Ooma Telo for $129 CDN.

Whether you’re buying it for yourself or for a loved one, Ooma’s contract-free phone service lets you stay connected for less. Plus, affordable international rates mean you can call as often as you’d like.

With Ooma Basic phone service, you won’t pay for phone calls, but there is a small monthly fee to cover the required taxes for your zip code. Most people save more than $1,000 in just three years. Use the Ooma savings and tax calculator to see how much you would pay each month.

For access to the most advanced calling technology, Ooma Premier phone service costs only $9.99 per month. That’s probably a fraction of what you’re paying now! You’ll have expanded call blocking to protect against robocalls and international access including free calling to the United States and Mexico. You’ll also get full access to the Ooma mobile app so you can use your Ooma line when you’re on the go.

Ooma keeps you connected across international boundaries.

Ooma’s low rates for international calls are a key benefit of the phone service, costing just pennies per minute.

By subscribing to Ooma Premier, you’ll also get unlimited calling with the United States and Mexico. This lets you talk as long as you want for one low price.

For unlimited international access to a wider set of countries, Ooma’s international calling plans give you the freedom to connect globally for one low flat rate.

The Ooma World Plan includes unlimited minutes to landlines in 60 countries and mobile phones in 10 countries. Included are the United States, Mexico, China, the UK, India, American Samoa and more. New customers can get the Ooma World Plan for just $9.99 per month for 12 months when making a one-time purchase of the Ooma Telo. The standard rate is $19.99 CDN per month for access to more than 60 countries.

Choosing the Ooma World Plus Plan provides even wider international access. Included is unlimited calling to landlines in over 70 countries and to mobile phones in over 40 countries for only $32.99 CDN per month. Your expanded international access will include phone numbers in Pakistan, Russia, Bangladesh, Costa Rica and more.

Learn more about how Ooma’s advanced home phone service can help you stay connected.