Canada is a vast country that encompasses a lot of different cultural influences when it comes to Christmas. As a result, Christmas traditions often borrow elements from many different places from all around the world.
Because of the climate, snow is often a big part of celebrations and many will often hope for a ‘white Christmas’ (meaning there will be snow on the ground) versus a ‘green Christmas’ (no snow on the ground). Geographically speaking, Canada is also where the North Pole is located. This remote northern land has often been called the traditional home of Santa Clause/Father Christmas.
In fact, Canada Post—the national mail carrier in Canada—will even deliver letters to Santa Clause in the North Pole. Every year, thousands of children from across Canada write letters to Santa and drop them off at the local post office. Then, they wait with anticipation for Santa to respond by sending a letter back to them. In reality, this tradition is upheld by retired postal workers who take on the role of Santa every year to respond with hand-written letters to every child who writes to the North Pole. The postal code is even H0H 0H0—a playful nod to Mr. Claus’s famous catch phrase.
Canada is also renowned for being one the largest Christmas tree producers in the world. Massive tree lots dot the rural landscape and every year those trees are harvested and sent around the world for people to enjoy. The quality and heartiness of Canadian trees is what makes them noteworthy—not to mention the fragrant smell.
Many Canadians celebrate Christmas Eve with friends and family by having a large meal—often something special like lobster, seafood, or even turkey—and a few cups of holiday cheer. Traditional Christmas Eve church services can be found in most areas from small towns to city centres. Christmas morning is the traditional time for exchanging gifts including small items that are put in Christmas stockings and often hung on a fireplace mantle.
Once the presents have been opened, it’s tradition to have a large meal—often turkey served with all the fixings on the side. Sweets and fruit cake are enjoyed and many people spend the day visiting friends and family. Boxing Day, December 26, is also a holiday in many parts of Canada. It’s traditionally reserved as a day of rest or to visit yet more friends and family. December 27 is typically a busy shopping day as many stores re-open after the holiday break and offer huge discounts in their merchandise in preparation for the new year.