Boxing day has been celebrated since the middle ages. There are several explanations why Boxing day is so called which centre around the giving of money and gifts to the needy.
The name may originate from the custom of putting out boxes collecting money for the poor, which were placed in churches on Christmas day and opened the following day. This was linked to the Feast of St Stephen.
There is a tradition of giving servants a 'Christmas box' (present) and a day off directly following Christmas day from their master. Samuel Pepys mentions this custom in his diary entry of 19 December 1663, where servants are handed a Christmas box and given the day off to visit family. This tradition of reward for good service continues today with many tradesmen receiving Christmas boxes of money and presents for their service throughout the year.