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Boxing Day in the Premier League explained: What is the history? What is it all about?

Joe Prince-Wright, Andy Edwards and Nicholas Mendola take a look at the upcoming holiday Premier League action, including Liverpool hosting Leeds and Manchester City looking to stay atop the table against Leicester City.

It is time for the most wonderful day of the year in the Premier League: Boxing Day.

And Boxing Day 2022 is even better as it means the Premier League is back after a six-week break for the 2022 World Cup.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

But what is Boxing Day? What does it all mean?

December 26th has a long tradition of being intertwined with football in the United Kingdom and with the Premier League games coming thick and fast over the next week, Boxing Day is the marquee day in the festive fixtures.

For a bit of a Boxing Day history lesson, plus our thoughts on the madness, here it goes:

What is Boxing Day all about?

It always falls on December 26 each year and as for Boxing Day history, in the UK it has been a national holiday since 1871.

It is said that in the Victorian era Christmas gift boxes were handed out to staff from their employers as they were thanked for their work throughout the year. (They also were given the day off.)

Since 1958 Boxing Day has been the main festive day which football has been played on throughout the leagues in the UK.

Not that kind of boxing

Just to make it clear, there is no Boxing on Boxing Day. Well, there probably is somewhere if Christmas Day with the family didn’t go as planned. Anyway...

Boxing Day is dominated by football, horse racing, cricket and plenty of other sports in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries. But mostly football.

In the UK games take place at all levels of football, and Boxing Day is synonymous with football.

Quite simply, it is a day for families to get together, go to games, cheer on their teams and extend the festive season. It is Christmas Day Part II.

What is coming up on Boxing Day in 2022?

We have a full day of Premier League programming on Boxing Day on NBC Sports and our studio team will be on-site at the Emirates Stadium as they’re in the UK for Dec. 26-28 to show you what this is all about.

On Boxing Day in 2022 we will have seven games played across four time slots from 7:30am ET until past 5pm ET.

When it comes to December 26, we have you covered as Brentford vs Tottenham, Aston Villa vs Liverpool and Arsenal vs West Ham are just a few of the mouthwatering games on Boxing Day.

Below are the Premier League fixtures in full for Matchweek 17, including Boxing Day, with all kick offs listed at 10am ET unless otherwise stated:

Matchweek 17

Monday 26 December – Boxing Day

7:30am: Brentford v Spurs – USA Network – WATCH LIVE
Crystal Palace v Fulham – Watch live on Peacock Premium
Everton v Wolves – Watch live on Peacock Premium
Leicester v Newcastle – USA Network – WATCH LIVE
Southampton v Brighton – Watch live on Peacock Premium
12:30pm: Aston Villa v Liverpool – USA Network – WATCH LIVE
3pm: Arsenal v West Ham – Watch live on Peacock Premium

Tuesday 27 December

12:30pm: Chelsea v AFC Bournemouth – USA Network – WATCH LIVE
3pm: Man Utd v Nottingham Forest – USA Network – WATCH LIVE

Wednesday 28 December

3pm: Leeds v Man City – USA Network – WATCH LIVE

What makes Boxing Day so special? Why do we love it?

Click play on the video below (from 2019) as Rebecca Lowe, Robbie Earle, Robbie Mustoe and yours truly reveal what Boxing Day means on a personal level and why it’s such a special day in the Premier League.

Enjoy the chaos!

Follow @JPW_NBCSports