The many different ways you can celebrate Christmas in Canada

COVID-19 restrictions are currently in place in many parts of Canada. Follow all public health guidelines when leaving your home.

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Christmas in Canada
Kids taking photos with Santa is part of the experience of Christmas in Canada. Via @FILIPINOSINCANADA.COM

Canada is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world, with almost 21.9% of Canadians being born in another country. As a result, you can find many different Christmas traditions from all over the world in just one country. Read on to see how we celebrate Christmas in Canada.

Christmas is a special time of the year for many Canadians.

Christmas marks the birth of Jesus, and is both a religious and cultural celebration.

Christmas Day is a public holiday in many parts of the world. It is observed by Christians as a religious holiday, with people of other faiths celebrating the day as a cultural holiday.

Canadian Christmas Traditions

Canadians keep many Christmas traditions alive, including sending Christmas cards and exchanging gifts.

Homes are decorated, some with bright lights that can be seen from far away.

Christmas trees, both real and artificial, are decorated and placed in many homes, with plenty of wrapped gifts underneath.

Stockings are also hung by the fireplace, one for each member of the family.

Meals are also a highlight of Christmas celebrations, with families preparing feasts of roast turkey and Christmas cakes.

Outdoor winter activities are also very popular during the Christmas season in Canada, including skiing, ice-skating and tobogganing.

Christmas trails have also gained in popularity in recent year.

Parades are also a big part of the Christmas in Canada experience.

While most Christmas parades have been cancelled because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, you can still experience some of the world’s longest running Santa Claus Parades online.

The Toronto Santa Claus Parade began in 1913, and usually features more than 25 floats and more than 2,000 performers.

Canada’s indigenous peoples also have their own Christmas traditions, including the Inuit’s “Sinck Tuck”. During the festival, the season is celebrating with much dancing and gift giving.

The province of Nova Scotia sends its biggest fir tree to the city of Boston, MA every Christmas as a sign of friendship and gratitude for the help the US city extended during the 1917 Halifax Explosion. The Boston Christmas Tree is the city’s official tree, and is placed in the Boston Common.

Nova Scotians also keep the German tradition of Belsnickeling alive, where Santas would go from house to house singing and playing musical instruments.

In some rural towns in the province of Newfoundland, Canadians keep the tradition of “mummering” and “jannying” alive. Groups of Canadians in costumes go knocking on doors, singing and dancing throught the night.

In Newfoundland and Labrador’s capital, Canadians have a contest to see who can light up their homes the brightest. Many take advantage of the winter weather, with some including ice sculptures as part of their decorations.

Like many families across the world, Canadians also enjoy sharing recipes. Making Christmas cookies and gingerbread houses are very popular baking activities throughout the holiday season.

“Réveillon” is a French-Canadian family tradition similar to Noche Buena, when families get together for a feast after Christmas Eve Mass.

Food is an important part of many Canadian families’ Christmas celebrations, and is reflective of their cultural and religious background.

In the maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, seafood is a central part of the Christmas meal.

Candy is also a big part of the Canadian Christmas tradition, including Barley Candy and Chicken Bones.

Weather during Christmas in Canada

Depending on where you will be during Christmas, it can get very cold in Canada.

While milder weather is the norm in the provinces of Vancouver and British Columbia, other provinces can see much colder temperatures and in some cases, plenty of snow.

Exercise caution when travelling during the Christmas season.

Travel during Christmas in Canada

Many Canadians travel during the Christmas Break, visiting family members in different parts of the country and overseas.

Most public transit systems in Canada operate on reduced schedules on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

What’s open on Christmas Day

In most cases, Canadians only have until December 24 to complete their Christmas shopping.

Most retail businesses and public services are closed during Christmas Day.

Most Canadian families take time off on Christmas Day to spend the day with family.

Christmas is followed by Boxing Day on December 26.


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