TORONTO – Many Canadians will be flocking to the country’s shopping malls and e-commerce sites to snatch up Saturday’s Boxing Day savings.
Boxing Day is a holiday for many Canadians on December 26. It gives people the chance to take part in the post-Christmas sales or watch ice hockey games.
And while some have said that Boxing Day is losing steam in favour of Black Friday, a representative from Best Buy says December 26 is still their biggest shopping day of the year.
Elliott Chun says Best Buy’s Boxing Day deals are typically a little better than those on Black Friday, although the November shopping event is a popular day to pick up Christmas gifts.
He says that on both days, the country is moving toward shopping online, favouring websites and mobile apps over bricks-and-mortar stores.
And the sales are also starting earlier this year — Best Buy and Amazon.ca both started up their e-commerce sites on Christmas Eve this year. Others, like the Gap Canada chain of retailers, offered early access to online sales to their email subscribers.
But for traditionalists who prefer to shop in-person, some Canadian malls and stores will be offering extended hours.
Most east coast stores keep their doors closed on Boxing Day, so Atlantic shoppers will have to go online or wait until Sunday to get in on the action.
What Do People Do?
Many people in Canada have a day off work and many of them visit stores that start their annual sales on Boxing Day. Some shoppers even start waiting outside stores in the small hours of the morning and many stores open earlier than usual.
Now, the sales often last for a whole week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve and are known as the “Boxing Week Sales” instead of the “Boxing Day Sales.” In some areas, particularly in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador and Ontario, stores are not open on Boxing Day and the post-Christmas sales start on December 27.
A number of important sporting events are held on Boxing Day and watching them on television is a popular activity. The International Ice Hockey Federation world junior hockey championships often start on December 26. And the Canadian National team usually does well in this event. The Spengler Cup ice hockey tournament, which is played in Davos, Switzerland, is also shown on major sports television channels. The Canada national men’s team has performed well in this event in recent years.
Boxing Day is a holiday in the United Kingdom and many countries (including Canada) that were once part of the British Empire. The origin of this holiday’s name is not clear. In feudal times in the United Kingdom, the lord of the manor would “pay” people who worked on his land in the past year with boxes of practical goods, such as agricultural tools, food and cloth. These were often distributed on the day after Christmas Day. More recently, employers traditionally gave their servants a gift of money or food in a small box on the day after Christmas Day. Some people in Canada still give gifts to people who provide them with services.
Other stories relate to servants being allowed to take a portion of the food left over from the Christmas celebrations in a box to their families and the distribution of alms from the church collection boxes to poor parishioners. These traditions evolved into the Christmas baskets that some employers distribute to their employees during the holiday season at the end of the year.
Boxing Day is a secular holiday that is traditionally celebrated on 26 December, the day after Christmas. 26 December is also St. Stephen’s Day, a religious holiday. When 26 December falls on a Sunday, Boxing Day in many Commonwealth countries and former British dominions is moved to 27 December.