Canadian Christmas traditions: Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without...

Our readers share what makes the holiday extra-special for them.

Canadian Christmas traditions: Holiday traditions

The holidays are a great time to revive family traditions. Whether your family spends the day together singing Christmas carols, eating special holiday foods or watching your favourite yuletide movie, the holidays wouldn't be the same without them. See what Canadian Christmas traditions some Canadian readers celebrate every holiday season.

Holiday lessons

12 children for Christmas
I belong to a wonderful family of 11 siblings; only one lives out of town. My mother is still alive, bless her soul. My mother taught the tradition that I still do today with my children. As you can imagine, or maybe you can't, having that many kids in one household can add up to a lot of housework. One of the household chores that we all did well on Christmas morning was making our bed. The tradition was that everyone had to make their beds before anyone could open their gifts. So when the first one awoke, they woke up everyone else and made sure that each bed was made or looked made. Even Mom and Dad had to have their bed made. We still have fun doing this every Christmas.
- Gwen Legacy

An old holiday tradition is to take my small children to either a dollar store or a kid's only store and give them a token amount of money to buy presents for whomever they like. They usually come away with some real gems for everyone in the family. They are so proud to buy something for each other and parents and grandparents and are so excited about wrapping and hiding it until the big day. I love the lesson they learn about how much fun giving can be.
- Darlene Sandquist

Christmas songs
When I was young, our family Christmas tradition was on Christmas Eve to light real (!) candles on the Christmas tree, unwrap the big cheese wheel & nougat sent from relatives in Italy (signaling the official start of Christmas!) and then (extinguishing the candles first!) go out carol singing door to door with our family, friends & neighbours. The money given to us for singing would be dropped into a charity donation box. We'd come home and have hot apple cider & more carol singing. It was wonderful - we had family, friends, neighbours, fun and giving all wrapped up into one special evening.

I never forgot the focus my family had on giving to the less fortunate, especially at Christmas time and I wanted to pass this on to my own three children, now all teens & young adults. Every year, from the time they could walk & talk, we involved them in a Christmas 'good deed'. It ranged from them selecting a toy for the McDonalds toy drive, giving coats they'd outgrown to the Salvation Army children's coat drive, handing out sleeping bags or blankets to the homeless in downtown Toronto, packing a box of goodies for a needy family or serving in a soup kitchen. We've had a lot of fun, gathering together to do our traditional 'good deed' at Christmas and we still do it to this day! In fact, I'd have to say that it's become the most meaningful & enjoyable part of our Christmas and it's a tradition that I hope that the children will continue in their own families.

Page 1 of 4 -- Read about the special holiday foods Canadian Living readers can't live without on page 2.

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