13 Things You Didn’t Know About Christmas in Canada
Do you know which provinces boast the most generous gift givers? Or how many turkeys get devoured at Canadian dinner tables? From holiday shopping to presents for the Prime Minister, here are 13 surprising facts about Christmas in Canada.
1. A Christmas Story Has Canadian Roots
The risqué leg lamp. Ralphie’s sliding rejection from Santa. Flick’s tongue mishap. Can you imagine Christmas without an annual screening of A Christmas Story? While the tale appears to be all-American, a substantial part of the movie was filmed in Canada. Ralphie’s school, the Chinese restaurant where his family ate, the famous swearing scene as well as the interior segments were all shot in Canada. And where else would you find the old TTC “red rocket” streetcars?
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2. The Prime Minister Doesn’t Want Your Gifts
If you want to send a little holiday cheer to the Prime Minster, think again. The Federal Accountability Act of 2006—as well as security protocol—state that Canada’s PM and his family cannot accept monetary presents, gift cards or perishable items such as Christmas cookies or cakes. And don’t even bother sending other items—they may be severely damaged during the security screening process.
3. The Atlantic Provinces Spend the Most on Christmas
A 2018 survey conducted by the Retail Council of Canada discovered that residents of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador plan to spend more per capita ($813 on average per person) in retail stores than any of the other Canadian provinces. Citizens of Ontario and British Columbia will cause cash registers to ring in holiday exultation, too, as they ranked in at no. two ($805) and three ($688), respectively. Quebecers plan to spend the least, at $458 on average per person.
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4. Santa Has a Lot of Canadian Elves
Since 1982, Santa’s Post Office has employed mailroom elves from Canada, and he has received more than 20 million letters from children around the world. Canada Post volunteers donate over 200,000 hours of their time each year to help Santa respond to every letter that arrives on his doorstep.
5. Canadians Love Department Stores… and Booze
According to Statistics Canada, Canadians prefer to shop in person. With total sales of nearly $3.2 billion dollars, the number one place for Canadians to check off their holiday shopping lists was… department stores. Care to guess the second most-visited venue for festive spenders? Pop the cork and raise a glass to Canada’s beer, liquor and wine stores. Their $1.6 billion dollars worth of holiday sales earned the runner-up position.
6. Michael Bublé Had a Very Merry Christmas in 2011
2011 was a green Christmas for Canadian crooner, Michael Bublé. Nielsen SoundScan in the U.S. listed Bublé’s Christmas as the second best-selling album of 2011. With a tally of 2.45 million sales in the United States alone, his festive release earned truckloads of cash and was only exceeded sales-wise by Adele’s 21. What’s most remarkable is that a Christmas album with only a few weeks on store shelves outsold practically all the year’s competition.
7. Canadians Love Eggnog
Don’t knock the nog. According to Statistics Canada, more than 2.6-million litres of eggnog were sold in Canada in November 2016. While eggnog isn’t everyone’s idea of a delicious holiday tipple, it’s obvious that many Canadians do enjoy it.
8. Canada Grows A Lot of Christmas Trees
Did you know our country had 1,872 Christmas tree farms in 2016? According to the 2016 Census of Agriculture, the farms were concentrated in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. If you can’t spend Christmas in Canada, you might as well take a little piece of the country with you. In 2016, Canada exported 1.95-million Christmas trees to over 20 countries, including Australia, France, Jamaica and Thailand.
9. Rudolph Was Canadian
If you were born in Canada after 1964, your Christmases probably involved an annual viewing of the “animagic” holiday special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Rankin-Bass, an American production company, created this beloved Christmas program, but did you know that there’s a secret Canadian connection? All the characters’ voices (with the exception of Sam the Snowman) were performed by Canadian actors, singers and voiceover artists at the RCA Victor Studios in Toronto.
10. Canadians Really Dig Turkey
According to Turkey Farmers of Canada, Canadians consumed a mighty 153.1-million kg of turkey in 2017. During Christmas that year, 3.3-million whole turkeys were purchased—that’s equal to 47 per cent of all the whole turkeys sold over 2017.
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11. Canadians Can’t Get Enough of Ballet
Dreaming of Sugar Plum fairies, mice and soldiers dancing through your holiday season? Since 1995, the National Ballet of Canada’s The Nutcracker has been wowing audiences from coast to coast. Over one million people have watched the annual play since its premiere, and as of 2018, 6,722 pairs of pointe shoes have been used by The Nutcracker‘s ballerinas.
12. Canadians Are Always Giving Back
According to Statistics Canada, 12.7-million Canadians (44 per cent of the population aged 15 and over) volunteered through a group or organization in 2013. Meanwhile, the average donation amount from Canadians in 2015 during the holiday season was an impressive $300.
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13. Christmas Isn’t Only Once a Year
In some corners of Canada, it’s Christmas 365 days a year. Welcome to Reindeer Station (Northwest Territories), Christmas Island (Nova Scotia), Sled Lake (Saskatchewan), Holly (Ontario), Noel (Nova Scotia), Turkey Point (Ontario), and Snowflake (Manitoba).
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