Monday, December 9, 2019

Unboxing Day: #MyCauseMyCleats

December 26, in certain parts of the world is known as Boxing Day. Boxing Day is a secular holiday—a bank holiday— that originated in the United Kingdom and is celebrated throughout Great Britain and Canada. Thanks to the NFL, in the United States we now have Unboxing Day! If you are an American, you may need a definition, and an explanation of both.
The roots of Boxing Day—a day that has nothing to do with the combat/contact sport—are unknown. According to, "One idea is that December 26 was the day centuries ago when lords of the manor and aristocrats typically distributed “Christmas boxes” often filled with small gifts, money and leftovers from Christmas dinner to their household servants and employees, who were required to work on December 25, in recognition of good service throughout the year. These boxes were, in essence, holiday bonuses. Another popular theory is that the Boxing Day moniker arose from the alms boxes that were placed in churches during the Advent season for the collection of monetary donations from parishioners. Clergy members distributed the contents of the boxes to the poor on December 26, which is also the feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr and a figure known for acts of charity."

Imagine if we all received but one box for Christmas? Would we be be more or less grateful? Would the season of Christmas feel differently? What would you put into that box for a loved one? What might you hope for?

Though unrelated, "Unboxing Day" is a creative play on words and the concept. As written on, "For the third consecutive season, the NFL will celebrate Unboxing Day, a league-wide unveiling of the players’ custom cleats. Players will unbox their cleats in hospital visits, classrooms, locker rooms and on stadium fields on Giving Tuesday, Dec. 3. Through Week 14, players will share images of their cleats and the stories behind them on social media, using the hashtag #mycausemycleats."

I have written about My Cause, My Cleats and have shared this collaborative effort between the players and the league with my students, since one of my own students first taught the class and me about it. 

As a creative assignment, I had my students design their own cleat. Many of them used an online template/outline of a cleat, decorated the shoe with colors and symbols of an organization that they appreciate and value. They were asked to include the website and a short summary, in their own words of the cause. One student went so far as to draw upon his own track cleats. As I opened the box to share these shoes with my new students, I felt the same energy and excitement shown by many of the athletes in the video (link below).

I love that every team has their own, personalized video of certain players "unboxing" or unveiling their cleats. To hear from your local heroes about the organizations that matter to them can deepen your connection and appreciation to the team and the cause. 

It can be challenging at times to applaud the NFL as an organization. #MyCauseMyCleats is one however toward which I am more than will to extend much more than a golf clap.
Unboxing Day and Boxing Day—two festive ways to celebrate the season. Enjoy

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