Victorian London - Entertainment and Recreation - Holidays - The Christmas-Box Nuisance

    How much longer, we ask with indignant sorrow, is the humbug of Boxing-day to be kept up for the sake of draining the pockets of struggling tradesmen, and strewing the streets of the metropolis with fuzzy beadles, muzzy dustmen, and intoxicated - but constant - scavengers? We have received the usual intimation from our pertinacious friend who eases us of our dust, that he expects us to come down with our dust in another sense, at what the fellow sarcastically calls "this festive season." The gentleman who boasts of his "constancy" in scavenging - as if he loved the mud and stuck to it - has apprised us, according to his annual custom, that we are to ascertain his genuineness by a dog with a black eye, a white nose, a red ear, an absent tail, a swelling on his left cheek, and other little symptoms of his having lived the life of a busy dog rather than of a particularly lucky one.
    The Christmas Box system is, in fact, a piece of horribly internecine strife between cooks and butchers' boys, lamp-lighters, beadles and all classes of society, tugging at each other's pockets for the sake of what can be got under the pretext of seasonable benevolence. Our cooks bully our butchers for the annual Box, and our butchers take it out of us in the course of the year by tacking false tails on to our saddles of mutton, adding false feet to our legs of lamb, and chousing us with large lumps of chump in our chops, for the purpose of adding to our bills by giving undue weight to our viands. Punch has resolved on the overthrow of the Boxing system, and down it will go before 1849 has expired.

Punch, Jul.-Dec. 1848