Christmas in Canada: Facts About Canadian Christmas Traditions

Here are some facts about Canadian Christmas celebrations, customs and traditions.

  • Christmas in Canada has many different customs and traditions because of the country’s diverse population. Most people celebrate on December 25th.

  • The Santa Claus parade has been held every Christmas in Toronto since 1905. Almost 1,800 people take part in the parade, and about 500,000 people line the parade route.
  • Every Christmas, homes in Labrador City in Newfoundland have a Christmas lights competition. Homeowners also try to outdo each other with huge ice sculptures and light displays in their gardens.
  • Also popular is the festival of lights at Niagara Falls. The waterfalls are decorated with over 2 million lights, and visitors can also enjoy concerts and fireworks over the falls.
  • Turkey or ham is the traditional Christmas meal for most English speaking Canadians. Other popular seasonal foods include mince pies, plum pudding and a rich Christmas fruit cake.
  • Attending midnight mass is customary among French speaking Canadians, as well as attending feasts on Christmas Eve. A stew made from pigs’ feet is a traditional Christmas meal in parts of Quebec.
  • Every year, the Canadian province of Nova Scotia gives a Christmas tree to the US city of Boston. The tree is in appreciation for help given by Boston residents after a ship exploded in Halifax in 1917.
  • Mummering is a popular tradition at Christmas in Canada, in parts of Newfoundland. Children go from door to door, sing and dance, and are given snacks and a drink.
  • Cookie, or biscuit baking parties are very popular in Canada around Christmas. Cookies are baked and recipes are exchanged, and each person at the party leaves with a selection of cookies.
  • In Quebec, people celebrate Epiphany on January 6th. One tradition is baking a cake with a bean in it, and whoever finds the bean is named the king or queen of the feast.

What next? Visit our Christmas Around the World section to discover how Christmas is celebrated in other countries.