In the Canadian provinces where English is the main language, Christmas traditions are largely similar to those of the United States, with some lingering influences from the United Kingdom and newer traditions brought by immigrants from other European countries. Mince pies, plum pudding, and Christmas cake are traditionally served as Christmas dinner desserts, after the traditional meal of roast turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and winter vegetables. Christmas table crackers are not uncommon and, in some parts of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, Christmas traditions include mummers.
North American influences on Christmas are clear in the hanging of stockings on Christmas Eve, to be filled by Santa Claus. However, Canadian children believe that the home of Santa Claus is located at the North Pole, in Canada, and, through Canada Post, address thousands of letters to Santa Claus each year, using the postal code designation H0H 0H0. Decorated Christmas trees, either fresh-cut or artificial, were introduced to Canada in 1781, originally by German soldiers stationed in Quebec during the American Revolution, and are now common in private homes and commercial spaces throughout most of Canada.
As Canada is a cold, dark country in winter, lights are often put up in public places and on commercial and residential buildings in November and December. Many communities have celebrations that include light events, such as the Cavalcade of Lights Festival in Toronto, the Montreal Christmas Fireworks, or the Bright Nights in Stanley Park, Vancouver. A national program, Christmas Lights Across Canada, illuminates Ottawa, the national capital, and the 13 provincial and territorial capitals.
In the province of Quebec, Christmas traditions include réveillon, Père Noël (“Father Christmas”), and the bûche de Noël (Yule log), among many others. A traditional dish for the réveillon is tourtière, a savoury meat pie, and gifts are opened during réveillon, often following Midnight Mass.
The Royal Christmas Message from the Canadian monarch is televised nationwide in Canada, the occasion being an observance which unites Canadians with citizens of the other Commonwealth countries worldwide. The observation of Boxing Day on the day following Christmas Day is a tradition practiced in Canada, as it is in many other Anglophone countries, although not in the United States. In Canada, Boxing Day is a day (or the beginning of a few days) of deeply discounted sale prices at retail stores which attract large numbers of shoppers in search of bargains.Return to Warm Wishes From Around the World