Eight hundred years ago, December 26 was the day church collection boxes were kept open so the contents could be distributed amongst the poor and wider community. This act of giving is where we got the now familiar title of Boxing Day. It’s an ironic paradox to our 21st century understanding of the date, where giving is the last thing on our minds. Rather, the day after Christmas, we join the masses setting their alarms for 5AM in the hope of purchasing a multitude of unnecessary goods, simply because they’re cheap.
Now don’t get us wrong, who wouldn’t be seduced by a global discount shopping frenzy. But there is something upsetting about a holiday that once encouraged charity evolving into an overarching need to buy and over-consume. Especially during a year where the social and environmental cost of the fast fashion cycle has never been as visible.
Despite a growing sense of responsibility, Australians are expected to spend $2.5 billion this Boxing Day alone. Between December 26 and January 15, the Retail Council predicts that figure will jump to $21 billion nationwide. With numbers like that, you can’t really blame retailers for encouraging shopping mayhem.
Text Eliza Sholly
Image via Tumblr user Shibuya246