Dec. 26 is known as Boxing Day in many countries around the world. These cats definitely have embraced the spirit if not the full meaning of this unofficial, at least in the United States, holiday.
Our feline also was a big fan of cardboard containers on the day after Christmas and any day of the year that a box of any size appeared.
As a lover of cats, be they large or small or domesticated (as much as cats can be) or wild, I can certainly appreciate the feline interpretation of Boxing Day.
But I also like the other ways, taxes included, to celebrate Boxing Day.
An evolving Boxing Day: For many of cats' human servants caretakers in the United States, Dec. 26 is an extension of Christmas Day.
It's an added day off work (welcome unless you're a furloughed federal employee) for relaxing, watching televised sports, indulging in leftovers and heading to the mall to take advantage of post-holiday sales or return gifts.
Others, however, tend to hew a bit closer to Boxing Day's commemoration of St. Stephen, who's honored on Dec. 26.
St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, also is celebrated for giving money to the poor. That's led the Boxing Day theory that the day originated in his honor because Dec. 26 was the day on which churches opened their alms boxes and gave the proceeds to the poor.
Another theory is that Boxing Day began centuries ago when servants were given the day after Christmas off as a day of rest after all their work in preparing their masters' holiday celebrations.
Origin stories aside, if you simply want to get into the Boxing Day giving spirit, consider contributing something today to your favorite charity.
Giving and getting back at tax time: If you are inclined to be charitable today, or any of the other 364 days for that matter, you also might be eligible for a tax deduction on your upcoming tax return.
That tax break, of course, is not why you want to give and celebrate Boxing Day. But there's nothing wrong with getting yourself a little tax gift in connection with your desire to help others.
The new tax law, however, has made this tax deduction a little less appealing for most of us.
You must itemize to claim your charitable gifts and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has increased the standard deduction substantially. This means that even more people will use the standard deduction at filing time instead of hassling with Schedule A tax deductions.
But if you do find itemizing provides you with better tax-saving results, be sure to include your charitable gifts.
You can find out more about the tax rules regarding the wide variety of charitable gifts available, as well as ways to spot unscrupulous nonprofits and charity scams, at:
- Charitable donation tax deduction rules apply year-round
- Deductions demand documentation
- Volunteer vacations provide help, possible tax deduction
- Uncommon charitable gifts still provide donors the typical tax deduction
- Tax rules for international donations
- Donating and deducting a car
- Beware of fake charities in the wake of disasters
- 5 ways to determine whether a charity is naughty or nice
- Spring cleaning could cut your tax bill when you properly value your donated goods
And if you want to give on this Boxing Day but are unsure about which nonprofit to choose, I know some cats who can suggest some Internal Revenue Service-approved animal related charities for your consideration.