Yesterday was Boxing Day, a holiday observed in Great Britain since the Middle Ages that rewarded servants and employees who couldn’t celebrate Christmas on the 25th of the month with a box of presents, food, money or another appreciation for their service. The tradition likely arose in the early Christian era, when churches used alms boxes to collect special offerings for the feast of St. Stephen, typically celebrated on Dec. 26.
People in former British colonies such as Canada and Australia see Boxing Day as a shopping holiday similar to Black Friday, and in the United States, savvy consumers can take advantage of the first post-holiday markdowns. Others, however, use the day simply to relax after a busy holiday season or observe Boxing Day in the most literal way: by boxing up holiday decorations for storage and unwanted gifts to return to stores.
As you recover from the holiday hubbub, VVA suggests that you observe Boxing Day all week long. When you take down the tree and pack up your holiday decorations, check to see if there are any extra ornaments or other seasonal items that you no longer need. When you bag up items of clothing that just aren’t your style or size for return, make up another bag of lightly-used items for donation. Then call ClothingDonations.org to schedule a pickup.
The proceeds from your donations will support programs that help clothe, feed and house veterans nationwide — a great way to show appreciation for people who have dedicated their lives in service to their country, similar to Boxing Day’s original intent. And your home will return to its everyday state with that little bit of additional space you made by bagging, boxing and getting rid of the stuff you just don’t need.
Clutter can make people “crazy, ” according to Cleveland Clinic psychologist Scott Bea, by leading to chronic distraction, stress and depression. So if you really want to relax after the holidays, start by clearing out a few things you no longer need or want. You may find that establishing a Boxing Week tradition now will supply you with good cheer all year long.