January 06, 2011

Boxing Day, Delayed!

When I was younger, I was always baffled by "Boxing Day".

What a strange name for a holiday and did people in other countries really box each other on that day?

As Boxing Day isn't a common holiday in the US, I never fully understood it, so a few years ago I decided to delve into it's  mysterious to me history.

I was surprised to find out that it had a lot to do with the origin of the piggy bank and nothing at all to do with Mohamed Ali.

Boxing Day's roots are honorable, no matter which version you prefer.  Some say it developed from the alms boxes of long ago, but my favorite theory involves St. Stephen who was stoned to death for teaching about Jesus. 

During his life, St. Stephen had worked to ensure meals were provided to the poor of England.  After his death, a remembrance of sorts occurred; this passage from one of our church bulletins explains it well:

"In remembrance of Stephen's work for the needy, the British people used to collect money throughout the year in little clay boxes.  On the Feast of St Stephen or "Boxing Day"(usually December 26th) these boxes were broken and the money distributed to the poor.  This is the origin of the piggy bank."
Cool, right?   Altruistic and meaningful.  A NECESSARY holiday for me to begin in my household and this year, oh yes this year, we started it!  I found a piggy bank at the thrift shop and a few weeks ago Bear began adding a penny here, a dollar there in to his bank. 

He would hunt for spare change in the couch and grin broadly when a kind stranger would pat a quarter into his palm (is this common?  I'm always amazed when people we don't even know give him money!).  This year we kept it simple: collect up spare change over a period of a month and then pick between two familiar, well deserving organizations to donate it to.

On the day we celebrated Boxing Day (waaaaaay after the 26th), Bear made his donation decision and we filled in the blank.

We gathered up some piggy bank smashing tools

and some safety gear, said a prayer to St. Stephen and then...


It was like a ceramic pinata when it burst open and Bear was clearly delighted with the results!

As the years go on, we will expand upon this theme.  Bear will learn to save, spend and even invest, but I think (and secretly hope) that his favorite use of money will be to donate- especially if it means he will get to smash a porcelain piggy before doing so.

Have a great weekend, All!
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