Dark blue cursive writing saying seasons greetings  on a background of golden and light blue snowflakes of different shapes and sizesAlessandro Vignando, Employment Consultant Build ON

While many Canadian Christmas traditions are strikingly similar to those celebrated in American movies, different provinces have unique interpretations of this holiday. With influences from Scotland, England, Germany, France, and the United States, Canadians enjoy a holiday full of family and traditions.

For example, the Christmas tree is a decoration found in many Canadian homes. Although originally a German Christmas tradition, Canadians love Christmas trees. In fact, the country produces about 70,000 acres of Christmas trees and exports about 1.8 million trees a year.

Another tradition for Canadians is the arrival of Santa Clause. Children eagerly await Santa's arrival on Christmas Eve, although some families may wait until New Year's Eve to exchange gifts. Christmas stockings are hung with the hope of being filled with gifts and goodies the next morning. Many Canadian children believe that Santa comes down the chimney and leaves presents under the tree to be found in the morning. Before bedtime, children are able to track Santa’s travel progress through the North America Air Defense Command (NORAD) with the help of many military personnel volunteers looking to bring the Christmas excitement to life.

Typical foods served during the holiday season include:

Beef, turkey or goose as the main dish, Tourtière, a meat pie served in Quebec and other provinces, Ragoût de pattes de cochon, or pig's foot stew, served with pickled beets on the side, Vegetable side dishes and sauces, Puddings, such as rice and plums, Donuts, pastries, fruit pies and cookies and Christmas cakes that are known in Quebec as la bouche de noël.

Canada is a vast country with many cultures, and each province's traditions are different. In the northern parts of Canada, native Inuit people celebrate Sinck Tuck. This celebration involves many festivities, dances, and the exchange of gifts. It is tied to the celebration of the winter solstice and meals often include caribou, raw fish, seals and other foods typical of the area.

In other provinces, Christmas traditions may include the following:

Residents in several provinces, including Newfoundland and Labrador, celebrate with outdoor Christmas lights and other decorations on their homes.

In Nova Scotia, German immigrants in 1751 brought the tradition of Belsnickling. In this annual parade of antics, Belsnicklers dress up in wild costumes, play musical instruments, drive through town from house to house, and if neighbors guess their identity, the Belsnickler gets to eat some cake or cookies.

Quebec has a tradition of setting up Christmas-themed markets where vendors set up store around large Christmas trees and present Christmas decorations and sweets to the public. While this is happening, choirs from churches and schools gather in the market and sing their best Christmas carols. Horse-drawn sleighs are also a Quebec tradition at this time. QuebecAdabra! takes place in Quebec City and has a German Christmas market, several choirs and nightly performances.

In many provinces across Canada, neighborhoods host field hockey games at the local rink (which is sometimes a frozen pond) or on the street. After a blissful afternoon of friendly field hockey, the players return to their families for a big Christmas dinner.

As in other countries around the world, the celebration of the holidays does not end when the clock strikes midnight on Christmas Day. Instead, the holiday season is celebrated by many people until January 6th. Two of the most important days between Christmas and the first week of January are Boxing Day, on December 26, and La Fête des Rois (the Feast of Kings) on January 6.

Boxing Day is a federal holiday recognized by the Canadian Labour Code. It follows the British royal tradition of bestowing goodwill on the less fortunate. Historically, it was the day after Christmas when gifts (boxes) were given to the poor. Today there are several ways Boxing Day is celebrated in Canada:

It is known for the best post-Christmas sales in retail and is the biggest shopping day of the year in Canada. If Boxing Day falls on a weekend, many employers will give their employees the next business day off or vacation pay on the next business day.

Because it is often a day of rest, many Canadians use Boxing Day as a way to take a break and enjoy some extra time after Christmas. It's also a day known for hanging out with friends, as the week before is usually filled with family activities.

Believe it or not, the elements mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg of what Christmas in Canada is like. With its beautiful winter environment, millions of Christmas trees, and rich abundance of various Christmas traditions, Canada might just be the perfect place to celebrate Christmas!

The Build ON team would like to wish everyone a happy holiday! May the year 2022 be safe and prosperous for everyone.