10 things immigrants might not know about Christmas in Canada

December 21, 2017

By Canadian immigrant Magazine |

Christmas in Canada is a wonderful time of year, breaking up the cold weather with beautiful lights, music and celebrations. If you’re a newcomer to Canada, here are 10 facts to know about the holiday.

  1. Canadians are known for being polite and may refrain from wishing you a “Merry Christmas,” so as not to offend those who don’t celebrate. If someone does wish you a merry Christmas, feel free to say “Merry Christmas” back or the more generic “Happy Holidays” in return, or simply “thank you.”
  2. While Christmas is a Christian religious holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, for many Canadians, it is more of a secular celebration, with a focus on Santa Claus, Christmas trees, gift-giving and family time.
  3. Canadian children send letters to Santa — and he may write back, thanks to Canada Post. Letters should be mailed to SANTA CLAUS, NORTH POLE H0H 0H0, CANADA. This year’s deadline was December 11. If you missed it, you can access an emergency letter from Santa here.
  4. Eggnog is perhaps an acquired taste for some, but it’s a popular holiday drink in Canada. According to Statistics Canada, almost six million litres of eggnog are consumed in December.
  5. While not everyone is a regular balletomane, checking out a production of The Nutcracker, complete with Sugar Plum fairies, mice and soldiers, is a family holiday tradition for many. In fact, this one production is often the biggest money-maker for ballet companies all year.
  6. Most stores will be closed on Christmas Day (December 25), so make sure you have everything you need, including groceries, by Christmas Eve (December 24). Some restaurants, movie theatres and convenience stores remain open on the 25th.
  7. The traditional Christmas dinner found at many Canadian dinner tables is turkey, much like Thanksgiving, complete with all the fixings like mashed potatoes, gravy stuffing and vegetables like peas, corn and yams.
  8. If you have kids in school, not only will there be a Christmas or Winter concert, but you may also be asked to contribute to classroom Christmas activities, like building gingerbread houses. Parents often give a small gift to their child’s teacher as well.
  9. You can take your child to see Santa Claus at the local mall. Parents dress up their children in their finest and stand in line to visit the big guy. Photos are taken for a fee, but these are optional. You are allowed to just go for a visit, but it’s a no-no to try to snap your own pictures without paying for the official portrait.
  10. The Christmas tree is the centerpiece of holiday décor, along with stockings along the mantle and colourful outdoor lights on the house. Have fun —there’s no right or wrong way to decorate.

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