Boxing Day was traditionally the day servants took off to spend time with their families, and received gift boxes from their employers (or so one of the explanations goes). Nowadays, Boxing Day is better known as the Day to Buy Honking Big Electronics and Other Self-Indulgent Purchases, including, but not limited to, 62” LED-3D-HD-smart TVs (I hear they can do calculus now) and iwhatsits with retina display (for people without retinas).
Boxing Day sales have long been a Canadian tradition, but our biggest shopping day of the year has been catching on in the U.S.A., too. In recent years, stores like Target, Walmart and Best Buy have advertised Boxing Day sales and begun opening their doors almost as early as on Black Friday (which, conversely, has crept up north in the last two years).
In other words, Canadian consumerist culture is infiltrating America — the country we love to point the finger at for spreading its greedy, over-consuming values to Canada. While American retailers have always done after-Christmas sales, lately they’ve embraced the idea of yet another, dedicated day on which to whip consumers into a frenzy one last time before the year is through. At least they haven’t yet enacted Boxing Day as a statutory holiday; Canadians are basically granted a day off to go shopping for all the crap they didn’t get on Christmas.
So be proud, Canada: we’re spreading our love of shiny things, plastic things and/or things that go fast, all at 50-70 per cent off, to America the Debt-ridden. And isn’t that what this time of year is all about — love?