What is Boxing Day and why should I care?
The day after Christmas means a bunch of different things to a bunch of different people. For instance, in Ireland, December 26 is celebrated as St. Stephen’s Day, commemorating Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Most people chill out with close friends and family. In contrast, for us lovely people in the United States, December 26 is for returning all those shitty presents we got or complaining about having to go back to work.
But, in England, the Brits celebrate “Boxing Day.” It’s historically served as a day off for servants and often they were gifted a “box” – a.k.a. present (lucky them, right?). Today, it mostly serves as the United Kingdom’s version of Black Friday, but with less Walmarts.
Great, you just gave me a terrible history lesson. Why should I care again?
Fine. Seems like you have presents to return. Let’s get to brass tacks. While Boxing Day in the U.K. may serve as a commercial grab by retailers, there is no denying that it’s one of the biggest sports days of the year for our friends across the ocean. Think of it as Thanksgiving Day football, just with soccer.
Think about it: when is it ever OK to have your first pint pre-8 a.m. on a Tuesday? On Boxing Day!
The English Premier League puts together a full slate of matches (eight this year) and since there’s not a whole lot going on around the globe in terms of sports, people pay attention.
(Editor’s note: since Christmas falls on a Monday this year, the NFL has some pretty cool games. Also, there’s a bunch of NBA games on, if you care. We know that’s not Tuesday, Dec. 26, but it’s worth noting.)
Even more, it’s a day when entire families can go watch a match, pound some pints, and continue the holiday celebration. Plus, traditionally, the “fixtures” (translation: matchups) are often pairs of teams that have a local rivalry or have a close proximity to each other. Because, you know, traveling sucks when you’re full of eggnog.
Ugh. You’re still not making me care.
Whoa there, killer. I totally get that you probably don’t care about the EPL or the Huddersfield vs. Stoke match next Tuesday, but since you’re reading a blog by an Irish pub, you probably like drinking and watching sports. This is that, just the O.G. version.
Think about it: when is it ever OK to have your first pint pre-8 a.m. on a Tuesday? On Boxing Day! So who cares if you don’t have a team you support? Hit Amazon, grab a scarf of the team with the coolest colors and get to the pub at 7 a.m. and start drinking.
Two things will happen when you do:
1) You’re sure to make friends, because the pub family that drinks together, stays together.
2) You’ll find yourself in a world that you didn’t even know existed… and you’ll be into it. Just don’t pick up a fake accent. That’s lame.
Just in case you were wondering what team to root for, here’s the full Boxing Day lineup:
- Tottenham vs Southampton – 7:30 a.m. EST
- Bournemouth vs West Ham – 10 a.m. EST
- Chelsea vs Brighton – 10 a.m. EST
- Huddersfield vs Stoke – 10 a.m. EST
- Manchester United vs Burnley – 10 a.m. EST
- Watford vs Leicester – 10 a.m. EST
- West Brom vs Everton – 10 a.m. EST
- Liverpool vs Swansea – 12:30 p.m. EST