Some Canadian Christmas Facts


By now you’ve likely seen all the sparkle and jazz that is the holiday season. Walk into any retail store and you’ll hear one of the many popular pop Christmas albums – whether it’s Bublé, Bieber, or perhaps a classic, like good ol’ Frank. Take a drive down any residential street and you’ll see the twinkling outdoor displays of festive lights, either frantically put up at the last minute, or, never taken down from the year before. Either way, there’s no denying that the season is upon us – ready to make everyone festive, merry, and bright.

In honour of the approaching holidays, we thought we’d do a little digging into Canada’s Christmas past, present, and future and unearth some interesting facts from around the nation.

There is a Christmas Capital of Canada winni winter

If you’ve been keeping up with our blog, then you probably know which city we are talking about. Here are a few clues. Located in the center of Canada, this capital is guaranteed a white Christmas nearly every year. In addition, it has one of the most famous frozen rivers in the world and endless winter activities for enthusiasts to pursue. Whether it’s outdoor ice skating, cross country skiing, sleigh rides or world-famous holiday celebrations – yup, you guessed it, Winnipeg has the seasonal spirit in spades.

tortiereA Québec Tradition

People around the world are split on whether the custom of opening gifts should happen at midnight or in the morning, but in Quebec, the practice of réveillon makes the decision easy. The French word to ‘wake-up’, réveillion is the custom of having a Christmas meal after Midnight Mass. Festive delights include Sucre a La Crème (Cream Fudge), Buche De Noel (Yule Log), Tarte au Sucre (Sugar Pie) and Tourtiere (Meat Pie). For réveillon, families often take an afternoon nap on Christmas Eve to prepare for the late night/morning festivities that follow. Upon their return home, they are welcomed by a warming traditional buffet of comfort food followed by festive caroling, dancing, and plenty of mulled wine and cider.

Sounds like a delicious way to celebrate the season to us!

12 Days of Christmas in Nova Scotia

Christmas caroling is popular in many places around the world, but in Nova Scotia, they do things a little differently. During the 12 days of Christmas, kids add a theatrical element to the fun by dressing in costumes and masks, disguising their voices and singing and dancing for their audience. If the host can’t guess their identities, they then are obligated to join in on the caroling fun. The best part, however, are the fun names associated with these festive jokers. Called ‘Mummers’ or ‘Belsnicklers’, we think Nova Scotia knows how to have some serious seasonal fun.

A Citrus Christmasjapanese oranges

In Vancouver, there is a special shipment that arrives at the main port every year for the holidays. The shipment, Japanese oranges, is welcomed by girls wearing traditional kimonos in a ritual which, for many, heralds the beginning of the holiday season. A delicious treat (and a whole lot healthier than all that Christmas chocolate), orange you glad that your stocking contains a fruitful surprise?

A Very Merry Hanukkah too!menorah

As a multicultural country, there are many other celebrations throughout the year which bring families together.

This year, for example, the first day of Hanukkah started on December 9th, and many families are well on their way to having some great family fun. Some Hanukkah traditions include the giving of gift baskets to friends and family, and the organization of Chanukah parties, which include singing, drama, and entertaining activities involving the dreidel. Many Jewish Canadians prepare a traditional feast with treats such as latkas (potato cakes), and sufganiyot (jelly-filled doughnuts). Everyone also partakes in the lighting of a special menorah known as a hanukkiyah for eight days.

And on the Funny Side of Things…festivus pole

Though many consider Seinfeld’s Festivus celebration to be a really funny joke, there is a history behind it, and people do actually celebrate it.

The holiday, which was brought to life in a ‘Seinfeld’episode, includes practices such as the Airing of Grievances, which occurs during the Festivus meal and requires each person to tell everyone else all the ways they have disappointed him or her over the past year. After the meal, Feats of Strength are performed, and this involves wrestling the head of the household to the floor, with the holiday ending only if someone can pin down the head of the household.

Celebrated on December 23, this holiday was originally created in 1966 by writer Dan O’Keefe and was celebrated by his family. The purpose of the holiday was to celebrate the season without partaking in its pressures and commercialism.

If you’re interested in trying out Festivus this year, there is a book that you can buy, which is aptly titled, ‘Festivus: The Holiday for the Rest of Us’.

So there you have it, Canada is a country full of fun and interesting holiday traditions and we’re sure that we’ve only skimmed the surface of what’s out there. So if you have any contributions to make, feel free to send us a message. It is, after all, the season of sharing!

Sandman Supports the Kids This Season


For many Canadians, the holidays are a time of year filled with celebrations, family gatherings, and gift exchanges. Yet, for countless kids across the country, the season can be a difficult period to get through, and is a time when a helping hand makes a world of difference.  That’s why, this year, Sandman Hotels are making it their mission to give back to children and teens in need with an important charity campaign.

gift of giving

From November 15, 2012 to January 15, 2013 all 42 hotels across the nation will participate in Sandman’s ‘Gift of Giving’ promotion which, in partnership with Kids Help Phone, will raise funds and awareness for Canada’s only national non-profit youth counselling service. A trailblazer for essential youth services in Canada, Kids Help Phone remains the go-to service for kids, teens and young adults. Its professional counsellors offer help and hope on more than 55 issues that are of concern to kids today. That’s why Sandman is proud to join forces with them.

For the season, Sandman will be donating $1 from every reservation made under their ‘Gift of Giving’ rate to Kids Help Phone, with all donations matched by Sandman Hotel Group.

Why Kids Help Phone?

“In light of recent events not only with youth in Canada, but across the globe, we felt that it was important for Sandman to foster a Canadian-run network for youth this season,” says Salim Kassam, Vice President of Marketing for Sandman Hotel Group. “Our Company has strong family values, and we are invested in Canada’s children and teenagers, so we feel that Kids Help Phone provides one of the most vital services for kids of all ages these days.”

A Few Facts about Kids Help Phone KHP_EN_1C_RGB

In case you didn’t know, Kids Help Phone provides Canada’s leading toll-free, bilingual, and anonymous online and phone counselling and referral service for children and youth. As a non-profit group, they rely heavily on the support of companies and donors from across the country to ensure that every kid has someone to talk to in a time of need.

Available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day they also ensure that no call for help goes unheard, and their dedication is something that Sandman is proud to support.

‘No matter what young people contact us about – bullying, school, pressures, problems at home – Kids Help Phone’s professional counsellors are always there to provide non-judgemental support to kids from anywhere in Canada,” says Sharon Wood, President and CEO of Kids Help Phone. “Our service is available 24 hours a day, but we can only be there KHP_FR_1C_RGBfor kids through the financial assistance and support of companies and donors. We are delighted that Sandman Hotel Group has joined us in our mission to ensure young people across Canada always have someone to turn to. Thank you Sandman for reminding everyone that we, as individuals and as a caring community, can make a difference.”

Sandman Hotel Group will also be offering special room rates for those who book under the ‘Gift of Giving’ rate, which makes it the perfect present not only for you, but for the kids too!

To find out more about Sandman Hotel Group’s ‘Gift of Giving’ promotion, go to

To find out more about Kids Help Phone, go to