13 Things You Didn’t Know About Christmas in Canada
Do you know which province boasts the most generous gift givers? Or how many turkeys get devoured at Canadian dinner tables? From holiday shopping to presents for the Prime Minister and letters to Santa, here are 13 surprising facts about Christmas in Canada.
“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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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.
Albertans Spend the Most on Christmas
A 2005 study by Statistics Canada discovered that residents of Alberta spent more per capita ($967 on average per person) in retail stores than any other Canadian province. Citizens of the Yukon and Northwest Territories caused cash registers to ring in holiday exultation, too, as they ranked in at number two ($928) and three ($926) respectively.
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.
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.
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’ album 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’ album. What’s most remarkable is that a Christmas album with only a few weeks on store shelves outsold practically all the year’s competition.
Canadians Love Eggnog
Don’t knock the nog. According to Statistics Canada, 5.8 million litres of eggnog were consumed in December 2009. While eggnog isn’t everyone’s idea of a delicious holiday tipple, it’s obvious that many Canadians do enjoy it.
Canada Loves Christmas Trees
Did you know our country harvests approximately 5.5 million Christmas trees each year? That’s roughly one Christmas tree for every 7 Canadians. But if you can’t spend Christmas in Canada, you might as well take a little piece of the country with you. In 2006, Canada exported 2.25 million Christmas trees to over 25 countries including Japan, Mexico, the United States and Jamaica.
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.
Canadians Dig Turkey
The Turkey Farmers of Canada report that in 2012, 8.8 million whole turkeys were consumed. 40.6 per cent of Canadian households bought turkey products for their holiday feast. Still feeling peckish? Canadians purchased a grand total of 3.9 million whole turkeys for Christmas last year. That’s a lot of drumsticks, wishbones, and turkey sandwiches.
Canadians Love Ballet
Dreaming of Sugar Plum fairies, mice, and soldiers dancing through your holiday season? The Nutcracker ballet is an annual Canadian Christmas tradition with performances wowing audiences from coast to coast. The National Ballet of Canada’s ballerinas have used 5,548 pairs of pointe shoes for performances of The Nutcracker since 1995 (as of January 2011).
Canadians Love To Give
A November 2012 poll by Ipsos Reid on behalf of RBC found that four in five Canadians (that’s 82 per cent of the population) plan on giving Christmas gifts this year. The poll disclosed that the average Canadian will spend about $1,182 on presents. More than half (56 per cent) of Canadians will rely on credit cards to make these seasonal purchases, while only 24 per cent will use savings.
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).