Canadian Christmas Traditions

A Traditional Christmas in Canada 
if those words make you think of crisp snow, clear blue skies, decorated houses and fun - then maybe it is time you came to spend a Christmas in beautiful Ontario - les fêtes de Noël bonne !

In early November the weather in Southern Ontario begins to change - we get noticeably shorter, colder, days.

Winter arrives in Southern Ontario, in early to mid-December, which is often when we receive a fore-taste of what winter has in store for us, in the form of a blizzard or ice-storm!

Canadian Christmas Tree with lights and decorations and gifts

In the 42 years I have spent in Canada, I have experienced 39 "White Christmases".

The other three were what we refer to as "Green Christmases" where the temperatures were too warm for snow.

For a more traditional Christmas in Canada you really should experience the full Christmas tree Experience!

All around the province there are Christmas Tree farms where you are able to go and select your own tree, which then is chopped down, either by you or by the staff, loaded onto the roof of your car, or in the back of a pick-up truck, and away you go - ready to take that perfect Christmas Tree home, to be decorated by your family.

For some of us though, this process is as simple as bringing the artificial tree up from the basement!

Around here the Christmas season starts with many communities having their Santa Claus Parade, usually at the end of November.  Santa is often on the last of many floats and this signals the beginning of his being in his grotto at the local shopping malls.

Aylmer, Ontario Santa Claus Parade 2019

Although some people view the arrival of winter with trepidation, in our family we look forward to winter - and Christmas, because we know that its the start of the Snowmobile Season , and for us that is good news!

Because the inhabitants of Ontario come from many backgrounds and cultures, their Christmas traditions reflect their ethnicity and there is a richness to the various Christmas traditions that are found here - some of which are we mention here.

During the season of Christmas in Canada many families take the time to choose their Christmas tree, the tradition of which was brought to Canada in the mid-1800's by settlers who came from Germany, who also brought with them their traditional Advent Wreaths, Ginger-bread Houses and Christmas Cookies.

Each Christmas my family builds a Gingerbread House. These come in kit form, with all the pieces already baked, and with all the icing and decorations you could possibly need, or alternately, you can purchase a mold and bake them yourself, year after year!

Gingerbread house kit for children at Christmas

I'm not sure if this happens to everybody, but at our house we get a little nostalgic at Christmas time! Hubby and I enjoy listening to the traditional Christmas hymns and songs that bring back to us the memories of long-ago Christmases.

Most Canadians send Christmas Cards to their friends and relations, as it is a nice way of keeping in touch with old neighbours and distant family members.

Red and gold Christmas presents for gifts

In recent years the personal computer has become more common-place in many Canadian homes, and greetings these days are often sent via e-mail.

In addition, these days busy people order gifts for family and friends online, making Christmas shopping easier and less stressful.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas in Canada people here in Southern Ontario spend time shopping for Christmas gifts. Most people buy toys for the children in their lives, many people also purchase cosmetics, clothing and jewellery for their loved ones.

Another popular gift idea is to send flowers for Christmas, and there are companies who deliver flowers in Canada and overseas, from relatives who live in Southern Ontario, and elsewhere across the country.

Santa Claus and little girl in pink dress, Christmas in Canada

Here in Canada, most Children receive gifts from Santa Claus - who, in case you didn't know it, lives at the North Pole!

Canadian children can write to him at his home address.

H0H 0H0

Canadian postal codes are made up of a six digits - in sequence of a letter, a number, a letter etc.

As you can see, Santa's postal code is Ho Ho Ho!

You can see more information about Christmas in Ontario on our Facebook page
Discover Southern Ontario on Facebook!


If you are hoping to experience a truly "White Christmas" before Global Warming puts and end to them, then why not consider a winter holiday in Canada?

Christmas Day in Canada and the following day, Boxing Day, are statutory holidays in Ontario and most people do not have to work on those days.

Virgin Mary with baby Jesus, Stained Glass Church window, St Thomas Ontario

People in Health Care and the Service Industry, Hospitals, Ambulance & Paramedics, Police Officers, Restaurants, Gasoline Stations and Hotels do have to work, as they are necessary to the running of these essential services.

At Christmas time Canadians like to socialize with family and friends and spend time visiting each other over the holidays.

Of course, Christmas in Canada and worldwide, is the time when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, and many Christians make time during the festivities to attend their local Church or Chapel to worship.

Many Churches have special Christmas Eve Services and others have Midnight Mass or a service on Christmas Day itself.

The Nativity Story is a movie which tells the story of the birth of Jesus

Traditional Christmas Foods

If you ask Canadians what they eat at Christmas, you will get a variety of answers, but the word "Turkey" is usually in their list. For Christmas in Canada, dinner usually includes Turkey and stuffing, perhaps a Ham, potatoes, vegetables - followed by a dessert of Christmas Pudding!

Roast Turkey Christmas Dinner in Canada

In our family we traditionally have three kinds of potatoes (Roast Potatoes, Scalloped Potatoes and Mashed Potatoes) with our roast Turkey, and this is the one day of the year when Canadians forget about counting calories and carbohydrates!

Other favourites in our family are Venison and Tourtiere which is a meat pie favoured by many French-Canadians, and enjoyed by the rest of us too!

Book of Christmas cookie baking

At Christmas time our whole family gets together for another tradition - the watching of our favourite Christmas movie ... National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  This hilarious look at the Christmas season is just as funny each time I watch it!

Another traditional activity in our family, is the baking of Christmas Cookies, to share with family and friends who visit over the holidays, but also so we can take part in our neighbourhood "Christmas Cookie Swap".

The neighbours all bake 10 dozen of the same kind of cookie, and then we get together with our neighbours a week or two before Christmas, and exchange cookies ... I make 10 dozen shortbread cookies, but I come home with 10 dozen assorted cookies!

Links to Christmas in Canada

NordicWare German Gingerbread House Mold

They are great fun for a family project and even the little ones in your family can participate in the placing of the candy decorations

Christmas in Canada - Christkindl Market, Kitchener
If you are in the Kitchener-Waterloo area in the weeks preceding Christmas, take a look at the Christkindl Market

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