December 26 in History

December 26 in Pop Culture History

December 26th is…
Boxing Day
National Candy Cane Day
Thank-You Note Day
National Whiner’s Day

Boxing Day is a traditional holiday in a few countries worldwide, but its main celebration and place of origin is The United Kingdom or England.

Boxing Day is a public Holiday in England; its history can be traced back as far as 800 years ago.  Boxing Day has two parts; the Catholic Church established the first.  December 26th is also known as the feast of St. Stephen; it is the day that song Good King Wenceslas takes place.  On this day, the alms boxes at the back of the church were opened, and the money was distributed to the poor.

In England, however, the day took a different meaning.  On Boxing Day, servants and tradesmen would go from house to house collecting gifts or tips for jobs well done during the year.  Servants in manor houses and estates were traditionally given the material for a new work uniform to be made on Christmas day.  It was probably a great relief to get their Christmas Box the next day.

Americans do not celebrate Boxing Day, although the idea of getting Christmas day and the day after Christmas off as a holiday would appeal to many Americans.  In America, the Christmas box has been replaced by a Christmas tip usually given before Christmas to such people as the mailman, the newspaper deliverer, or a gardener… anyone who offered you service regularly during the year. 

1610 – Countess Elizabeth Bathory tortured and killed possibly hundreds of young girls for over a dozen years. She believed eating flash and bathing in their blood would keep her youthful.

1865 – James H. Mason of Franklin, Mass., was issued a patent (# 51,741) for a coffee percolator.

1878 – The first electric lighting in an American store was installed at John Wanamaker’s “Grand Depot” department store in Philadelphia, PA.

1906 – The world’s first full-length feature film, Story of the Kelly Gang (about 70 minutes), was presented in the Town Hall in Melbourne, Australia.

1919 – Babe Ruth of the Boston Red Sox was sold to the New York Yankees by owner Harry Frazee, beginning the ‘Curse of the Bambino’, which lasted until 2004.

1940 – The Philadelphia Story, directed by George Cukor, based on the Broadway play of the same name and starring Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, was released.

1946 – Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel opened The Pink Flamingo Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

1963 – The Beatles’ I Want to Hold Your Hand and I Saw Her Standing There were released as singles in the US.

1964 – “The Hit Heard Round The World” – Buffalo Bills vs. San Diego Chargers – In the American Football League Championship Game between the Buffalo Bills and San Diego Chargers, Bills linebacker Mike Stratton hit upon Chargers running back Keith Lincoln that, resulted in breaking Lincoln’s ribs and knocked him out of the game.

1964 – #1 Hit December 26, 1964 – January 22, 1965: The Beatles – I Feel Fine

1966 – Maulana Karenga held the first Kwanzaa in California.

1967 – A patent (# 3,359,678) was issued to Wham-O for their improvement of the Frisbee, an “aerodynamic toy to be thrown through the air in throwing games.”

1970 – #1 Hit December 26, 1970 – January 22, 1971: George Harrison – My Sweet Lord / Isn’t It a Pity

1973 – Based on William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel, The Exorcist, starring Linda Blair, was released in theaters.

1982 – The Man of the Year in Time magazine was the personal computer.

2004 (Earthquake & Tsunami) Northern Sumatra, Indonesia. A series of tsunamis killed more than 225,000 people in eleven countries with waves up to 100 feet high. It was the deadliest natural disaster in modern history. Tilly Smith, a 10-year-old British schoolgirl, saved her family and 100 other tourists from the 2004 Asian tsunami, by recognizing signs of tsunamis she had learned in a geography lesson two weeks before.

2020 – #1 Hit December 26, 2020, – January 1, 2021: WillowTaylor Swift