Christmas Traditions in Canada

Updated 2020 to include my new Podcast Series!

Being Canadian, I have a bit of an advantage to know about Canadian Christmas Traditions, however one should keep in mind that just like any country with a diverse population Canadian Christmas traditions can differ from region to region. Please have a listen to my episode of Christmas Around the World podcast series, linked below – recently launched in partnership with Christmas Past.

Christmas Around the World Podcast Series: Canada

Have a listen to this short podcast wherein I host and tell you about Christmas Foods in Canada, Christmas Songs, and other Canadian Christmas traditions.

How to do a Celebrate a Canadian Christmas.

The influence of Europe can be seen in Canadian Christmas traditions, in the celebrations and the various customs of the holiday. Many different cultures come together to form the traditional Christmas in Canada festivities. It can vary quite a bit from family to family, depending on their particular heritage. Here we will cover all sorts of Canadian Christmas traditions and customs – everything you need to know to celebrate a Canadian Christmas.

Christmas in Canada, and Canadian Christmas Traditions are very similar to their southern friends in the USA – the decorations, history, food, songs and other cultural touchstones are very similar. However, there still exists some differences, and unique regional variations to European and USA traditions.

Christmas In Quebec, Canada

Starting at the end of November, Old Québec is transformed into a real Christmas village, just like out of Charles Dickens’s novel “A Christmas Carol”. The German Christmas Market is an otherworldly place that wakes up in the core of Old Québec, half a month prior to Christmas. It is a market intended to reproduce as intently as conceivable the climate of the enormous European Christmas markets and to offer you a one of a kind and remarkable experience. Find the best embellished boulevards and buildings and plan a stunning stroll. Lights, enrichments, and snow make an enchanting setting like no other inside Old Quebec. No big surprise CNN positioned Québec City among the world’s main 10 goals for commending the Holidays!

The midnight mass is the central celebration of French Canadians on Xmas eve, where they display a nativity scene beneath a Xmas tree. After the mass, the family has a huge banquet as part of the Christmas traditions of Canada. Gift-giving occurs on New Year’s Day.

Canadian Christmas Food

So, what do Canadians eat for Christmas?

Quebec Christmas foods could include the traditional Quebecois dish of tourtières (meat pie) and other savoury and sweet local delicacies. While the traditional Christmas Meal in the rest of Canada is more famailiar Turkey, Potatoes, Stuffing and Veggies. We do sometimes have Ham, or Roast Beef, but not as common.

Christmas in Canada, Ontario and other Provences.

Traditionally, for the English Canadians, the Christmas traditions of Canada feasts usually include a turkey, roast goose or beef and plum pudding. The homes are decorated with pine bough and kissing balls. They also sing the ancient carols during the period. They also enjoy mince pies, Christmas Crackers, and other traditionally British Christmas icons.

Christmas in Toronto

Toronto has lots of festive cheer each year. The most iconic activity is skating at Nathan Philip’s Square, which is right outside City Hall and is beside the Toronto official Christmas Tree.

Toronto Christmas Market is an event that has become an annual tradition.

The market offers an incredible number of shopping and eating venues, which incorporate new merchants from over the territory offering German potato hotcakes, exemplary Quebec poutine, hand crafted fudges, hotdogs, Belgium waffles and that’s just the beginning. Remember the warmed Beer Gardens too. Past the regular lighting and sentimental Christmas setting, fun exercises to do incorporate ferris haggle, the Distillery District strolling visit, a trek to Santa’s home where children can take pictures with Saint Nick, and even your pets can get in on the photography fun with Santa — however just on Tuesday.

Christmas in Canada - Toronto

Family Canadian Christmas Traditions and Multiculturalism

While most people have a ‘Christmas Tree’, German Canadians have the ‘Tannenbaum’ in the place of honor in their homes. Some families still tell their children the stories of await the Christkindl, a messenger from the Christ child. Some traditional Canadian/German foods at Christmas are Stolen and cookies. Trees, ancient carols, gingerbread houses, and advent calendars are major parts of the traditions as they celebrate Christmas in Canada.

Did you know that many famous Canadian Singers have recorded Christmas Albums?
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The various Canadians of Native heritage have a different set of the Christmas traditions of Canada for each indigenous nation, including gift-giving, feasts, singing, dancing, drumming and games, which were part of their ancient winter celebrations. The Cree children visit the homes of their relatives to collect their gifts. The Inuit hold feasts of caribou, seal, raw fish, and turkey.

Ukrainian immigrants celebrate the feast of Saint Philip by cleaning their homes, bodies and souls. The Eastern Orthodox religious influences their traditions with a blend with pagan agrarian customs. They hold a day of fasting that ends on Xmas Eve when the hold the Holy Supper with twelve dishes. The astrological symbolism is evident in the combination Christian motifs and agrarian practice which are shown in the twelve dishes representing the twelve lunar cycles of the year and the twelve Disciples of Christ. No meat and milk is served with the dishes because emphasis is placed on the field, garden, and orchard during the celebration.

Just as each culture has it’s own unique traditions, so too does each family. No two households are exactly alike, but pride in our multiculturalism is the basis of the traditions we hold dear when we celebrate Christmas in Canada.

Do you celebrate Christmas in Canada? Share your traditions on our  Facebook Group or in the Comments below!
Share your tips for Canadian Christmas Celebrations and Traditions!