Boxing Day: A True Holiday or an Excuse to Shop?

December 26, Boxing Day, is many things. The United Kingdom, along with Canada and Australia, celebrate the holiday much like any other, going so far as to shift Boxing Day from the 26th to the 27th if the 26th falls on a Sunday.

For numerous Americans, however, it is simply another boring day at work, albeit one with the previous night's fudge and eggnog sloshing around their stomachs. For many more Americans, Boxing Day is a shopping event akin to Black Friday, with disappointed folks returning ugly sweaters and outdated electronics and swapping them for those items Santa forgot to deliver.

Also like Black Friday, Boxing Day's popularity as a national shopping holiday continues to grow. In certain areas of the world, it was a record-breaking year for online shopping — a plus considering traditional holiday shopping hit its lowest level since 2008, due largely to inclement weather and economic uncertainty (re: fiscal cliff). But increased Boxing Day activity was clearly a boon to shop owners and may tentatively portend rising consumer confidence and disposable income.

Of course, even moderate upticks in spending are destined to be ephemeral phenomena if Washington is unable to reach a semblance of a deal before January 1. So, Congress: Merry Christmas and Happy Boxing Day. Now box up your egos and return to work.