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Boxing Day vs. Black Friday: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on December 19, 2023
Boxing Day, observed on December 26th, is a holiday known for charity and post-Christmas sales, while Black Friday, following Thanksgiving in the U.S., is famous for major retail sales and marks the start of the holiday shopping season.

Key Differences

Boxing Day, celebrated on December 26th, originates from the UK and is a public holiday in many countries. Black Friday occurs the day after Thanksgiving in the United States, signaling the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.
Traditionally, Boxing Day was when servants received gifts from their employers. Black Friday, conversely, is known for its retail sales, where stores offer significant discounts.
Boxing Day is often associated with sports events and spending time with family. Black Friday is characterized by early store openings and often, frenzied shopping behavior.
In recent years, Boxing Day has also become known for major sales, similar to Black Friday. However, Black Friday sales have expanded to include online deals, extending over the weekend into Cyber Monday.
The term "Boxing Day" is not directly related to the sport of boxing, but rather refers to the tradition of "boxing" up gifts. "Black Friday" got its name from Philadelphia, where it was used to describe the heavy traffic on the day after Thanksgiving.

Comparison Chart


December 26th
Day after Thanksgiving (U.S.)


UK tradition
Originated in the United States

Traditional Significance

Giving gifts to servants
Marks the start of Christmas shopping season

Modern Association

Sales and family time
Significant retail discounts and shopping

Name Origin

From boxing up gifts
From the heavy traffic in Philadelphia

Boxing Day and Black Friday Definitions

Boxing Day

In some countries, Boxing Day is a time for sporting events and sales.
Boxing Day sales start early tomorrow morning.

Black Friday

Marks the unofficial beginning of the Christmas shopping season.
Black Friday sales indicate the start of holiday shopping.

Boxing Day

Traditionally, a day to distribute Christmas boxes to the poor.
Churches often organize charity events on Boxing Day.

Black Friday

Increasingly includes online sales and extends to Cyber Monday.
This year's Black Friday deals are also online.

Boxing Day

A public holiday celebrated on December 26th, traditionally for giving gifts to servants.
We're visiting relatives on Boxing Day.

Black Friday

The Friday following Thanksgiving in the U.S., noted for exceptional retail sales.
I'm planning to buy a TV on Black Friday.

Boxing Day

A day for continued Christmas celebrations, especially in Commonwealth countries.
Boxing Day is another day of festivities for us.

Black Friday

Originated from the heavy traffic and shopping chaos in Philadelphia.
Black Friday got its name due to the traffic it would cause.

Boxing Day

Recognized in some regions as a day to relax and unwind after Christmas Day.
Boxing Day is my day to rest after all the Christmas hustle.

Black Friday

Known for long lines, early store openings, and significant discounts.
People camp outside stores for Black Friday deals.


Is Boxing Day a public holiday?

Yes, Boxing Day is a public holiday in many Commonwealth countries.

Why is it called Black Friday?

Black Friday got its name from the heavy traffic and chaos in Philadelphia.

Does Black Friday only involve physical stores?

No, Black Friday now includes online sales as well.

Are stores open on Boxing Day?

Yes, many stores are open on Boxing Day and often have sales.

Can you return purchases made on Boxing Day?

Yes, but return policies depend on individual store policies.

Is Boxing Day related to the sport of boxing?

No, Boxing Day does not relate to the sport but to the tradition of giving boxes.

How long do Black Friday sales usually last?

Black Friday sales can last from one day to the entire weekend, extending to Cyber Monday.

Do other countries celebrate Boxing Day?

Yes, countries in the Commonwealth, like the UK, Canada, and Australia, celebrate Boxing Day.

Are Black Friday sales limited to the U.S.?

While originating in the U.S., Black Friday sales have become popular worldwide.

Are there any traditions associated with Black Friday?

The main tradition of Black Friday is shopping for discounted items.

Why do people give boxes on Boxing Day?

Historically, boxes of gifts or money were given to servants on Boxing Day.

Is Black Friday a holiday?

Black Friday is not an official holiday, but many people take the day off.

What do people typically do on Boxing Day?

People often spend time with family, shop, or watch sports on Boxing Day.

Is Black Friday always on the same date?

Black Friday is always the day after Thanksgiving, so the date varies.

Is Boxing Day a shopping holiday?

In recent years, Boxing Day has become known for post-Christmas sales.

What's the difference in sales between Boxing Day and Black Friday?

Black Friday sales are typically more intense and widely advertised than Boxing Day sales.

Is online shopping popular on both days?

Yes, online shopping has become increasingly popular on both Black Friday and Boxing Day.

Has Black Friday become more popular than Boxing Day?

Black Friday has gained significant global popularity, especially with the rise of online shopping.

Does Black Friday offer the best deals of the year?

Black Friday is known for great deals, but it varies by product and retailer.

What kind of sporting events occur on Boxing Day?

In the UK, football (soccer) matches and horse racing are common on Boxing Day.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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