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Capitalize on Boxing Day Deals in Canada

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Boxing day at the Eaton Centre
Boxing day at the Eaton Centre

Boxing Day in Canada is most commonly viewed as a day of fighting through hoards of shoppers beginning in the early hours of the morning. Boxing Day is the day immediately following Christmas during which huge numbers of people will line up for hours outside of stores in the hopes of scoring the best deals. Happening yearly on December 26th, it’s the kind of holiday that people partake in without actually knowing why they’re celebrating it or even when it started.

It’s also the time of year during which scores of naysayers argue that boxing day sales aren’t as rock-bottom as they would expect, but the main thing that needs to be understood is that older models and items will be heavily discounted, while a brand new TV that came out this year will unlikely be.

The Meaning of Boxing Day and it’s History

Though it’s unclear how Boxing Day truly originated, a few historical facts (or perhaps passed-down rumours that were never true to begin with) stand out:

  • On the day following Christmas, wealthy masters of the household would hand servants gifts inside of a wooden or clay container as a kind of token of appreciation for the year, and more specifically for working during Christmas. Often in the form of leftover foods, these boxed gifts would also grant them a holiday the following day.
  • In Ireland, the holiday is referred to as St-Stephen’s Day, during which “Wren Boys” used to run around in the streets and kill Wrens (a type of bird). Though they don’t kill the birds anymore, they now go around collecting money for charity instead.
  • In England, Boxing Day was synonymous with fox-hunting for centuries, until it was outlawed in 2004 for fears over cruelty. Nevertheless, some people continue the tradition by wearing red coats and leading dogs on fake trails

As a side note, while Boxing Day isn’t observed in the United States as it is more of a day for spending gift cards and making gift returns and exchanges, Black Friday has the same impact and it is celebrated on the day after Thanksgiving.

What’s Closed?

While banks, schools, and government offices are officially closed, some restaurants may be closed as well. Public transportation is open but often run on a holiday schedule.

Some provinces have banned stores from being open on Boxing Day: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Is it really worth it?

With the burning question on first-time or even amateur Boxing Day shopper minds is whether the heavily advertised deals are worth the time, hassle, and especially money spent.  Essentially, the deals are indeed worth it but only as long as shoppers understand that they will undoubtedly be purchasing older stock since the primary objective behind the event’s incentive is to get rid of old stock to make way for the new.

Inspiring people to unleash their inner shopaholic when they normally wouldn’t  Boxing Day is also especially advantageous for stores and the economy. Seen as a kind of “thirteenth month” because of the drastic increase in sales, it allows stores to clear old inventory and end the year on a high note by helping to balance financial books.

Quick Tips For Shopping During Boxing Day
  • Clean out accumulated clutter from the year;
  • Make a budget and stick to it;
  • Research and make a list ahead of time of items to get (especially to avoid overspending);
  • Begin shopping before Boxing Day;
  • Get a good night’s rest.
Plan Transportation

Evaluate the best mode of transportation for you to achieve your planned shopping goals. For taking the car, consider traffic and potential parking dilemmas.  On the other hand, in exchange for all that hassle, you gain the much welcome perk of having plenty of room for all of your purchases.

As for public transportation, be sure to check holiday schedules and decide whether carrying all of your purchases back is a feasible option.  If anything, a taxi can always be called to return home.

Shopping List Prioritization

As getting around during Boxing Day can be a challenge, plan ahead and determine which items are the most important on your list for Boxing Day in-store shopping. This will allow you to quickly breeze through the stores without getting sidetracked and impulsively spending money. Keep in mind that popular sizes for clothes and shoes sell out fast, so put them at the top of your list.

Shopping on Boxing Day is especially great for gifts for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and other occasions. Not only are you saving yourself the stress of potentially doing it last-minute later on, but you also run the occasion of scoring an amazing deal and savings loads of money in the long run. Just don’t forget to take the sale tag off when you hand the item over as a gift.

Shopping Efficiency

Shopping alone is ideal for staying focused and ruthless in the decision-making process. Also, try not to get carried away even if it’s a great deal. Consider whether you really need the item: perhaps you already have something similar? Also, while an item may look like a bargain, it may be damaged, so take the time to examine it carefully.

While heavily discounted, smaller items and knickknacks will also clutter your household. Once again, evaluate whether you’re actually going to use it, if not, put it back on the shelf.

Cyber Boxing Day – Why You Should Shop On-line

While avoiding the stress of long lines and hoards of desperate shoppers are obvious reasons, there is also the added perk of lounging around the house in your pj’s. There is also the benefit of day-and-night access to your financial balance.

Early preparation is also essential as it can help save time and money during Boxing Day. Bookmark store pages and create accounts for each website you plan on buying from in advance.

Don’t forget to see if your favourite store is running a coupon or sale by checking out Voucher Codes before shopping on-line on Boxing Day or Boxing Week. It has now turned into an on-line event in Canada you might not want to miss. I have been informed that there will be a plethora of exclusive and secret deals starting on December 26th 2012 that shouldn’t be ignored.

Fact of the matter is, Boxing Day isn’t going anywhere. People aren’t going to suddenly just stay home and not be tempted by deals, especially with the Internet at their fingertips. Comment below to share with us your thoughts on this mega event. Do you shop on Boxing Day?

Voucher Codes Canada

Rita is an avid online shopper and blogger at, an online savings community. She is always on the hunt for the best savings tips and deals to help users save even more.

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  1. Hi there,

    I am requesting permission to use your picture of “Boxing Day at the Eaton Centre” on my personal blog. May I use it?


  2. Alright I figured out where it happened your link called “Choosing Bankruptcy As A Debt Management Option” by The Debt Round Up is coming over to this link….yes it took me a few minutes to notice the title didn’t match etc….ha ha 😉

  3. Ha ha Mr. CBB I was reading all of the blogs I didn’t realize I was back on your blog….too funny because I was thinking wow this guy has a format just like Mr. CBB….Oh you must think I’m addled but I have had a drink or two 😉

  4. This is so cooincidental I was googling the meaning of boxing day yesterday! It is so neat that it is so rooted in tradition. I went out shopping today with my Mom but in the US its just until New Years a lot of folks run out and try to get after Christmas sales. Great post! By the way Mr. CBB sent me over here 🙂

  5. Loved the article!!! These are all ideas that I have used except for shopping online. I used to hit Canadian Tire for the half price toys when my kids were kids….. birthdays were in Feb, April and July and I’d sit on those deals until then. The kids were fine with it when they grew old enough to figure it out. These days I plan to relax but I might wander over to CT as the store is across the street so there are no parking worries. Last year I got my daughter a set of cutlery she had talked about that was on sale less than half price…. she loved it!!! They know I shop sales and they get a kick out of it….

  6. I thought Boxing Day was when you boxed up your things you didn’t need and donated them to charity. It could be Boxing Day in the US because the stores are pretty busy and you feel like you are in a fight to get those sales. I have to work, so no shopping for me, which is a good thing.

    1. Hi Kim,
      I have to admit that I was surprised to find out that there isn’t any Boxing Day in the United States. The only equivalent to is Black Friday, which follows Thanksgiving in November.

      I think your idea of donating to charity is brilliant though and I wish more people would do it!

    1. Hi Edward,
      I read about that as well but the thing is that even if some may have done so, it would have been rare considering the importance of class at the time. However, very often masters would give their servants boxed gifts to thank them for all of the hard work that was put in for Christmas. These boxed gifts were often in the form of leftover food.

  7. You wouldn’t catch me dead shopping on Boxing Day. Hate crowds, and people who are just browsing. I think you find better deals as January comes in. But then I don’t need anything but a new bathroom!


  8. I always thought it was cool that Canadians get an extra day off work that day! Most people will here will have to go back to work of course…but I guess that keeps us out of spending trouble! 🙂 Merry Christmas Mr. CBB!

  9. Hey there,

    I will be available all day on December 24th to answer any comments or questions about Boxing Day.

    Share with us if you plan on shopping on December 26th 2012? What do you think of Boxing Day?

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