Unwrapping Canada – Guide to Gift Traditions in Canada

Today we’re talking about gift traditions in Canada. With its majestic mountains and blue bodies of water, Canada is a natural beauty. Whether you’re just visiting or a born Canadian, Canada should definitely be on your list of countries to see! Home to a mix of First Nations, French, American, and Norwegian people, Canada is steeped in customs and tradition. That’s why we’ve decided to shine a spotlight on this vast, rugged land and share the many Canadian holidays and gift-giving traditions with you! 

The Most Popular Holidays to Send Gifts to Canada

Christmas

While most Canadians follow standard American and British customs, Christmas is still the biggest holiday in Canada. A month-long event, Canadians decorate their homes in traditional Christmas flair, and the highlight is the Christmas Tree. The night before Christmas, known as Christmas Eve, is customarily a quiet evening spent with family, while on Christmas Day family members exchange wrapped gifts and share a grand Christmas dinner.


If you want to surprise your friends and family in Canada with gifts, the whole month of December, and even into the New Year is appropriate. They tend to be more laid back about dates, and appreciate the thoughtfulness and intent more than the gifts themselves. Still, it doesn’t hurt to impress so you may want to think about what their comfort items are, a big box of gourmet chocolates and a good bottle of wine can really help them unwind between family gatherings and dinners.

People shopping in a mall in Canada during Christmas holiday.

Boxing Day

Similar to Black Friday, Boxing Day is the busiest day on the Canadian Calendar, except this crazed shopping day falls on December 26th, the day after Christmas. Stores across Canada lower their prices in order to unload much of their unsold merchandise. Bargain shoppers even camp out in parking lots on the night of December 25th just to be first in line when the shops open.

Family Day

The third Monday in February is Family Day. Each tradition is unique to the family observing, but the goal is the same: celebrating family. In Prince Edward Island, the holiday is called Islander Day. In Nova Scotia and Yukon, it’s a celebration of provincial history called Heritage Day, though the Yukoners celebrate it on the Friday before the last Sunday in February.

This is a great time to reach out to your family with a simple gift, perhaps a small bouquet or an assortment of cookies. This small gesture can make the day feel extra special, even if you can’t make it home. 

Canada Day

On July 1, Canadians celebrate the nation’s birthday with Canada Day (previously known as “Dominion Day” until 1983). People display their Canadian pride on Canada day by dressing up in the nation’s colors of red and white (some even wear maple leaves!) and gather together to barbecue outdoors and light fireworks in honor of the day Canada became a country in 1867. In addition, many big cities host huge celebratory events, parades, and festivals to commemorate this national event. 

Canada spelled out by people using sparklers

Canada Dos and Don’ts for Gift Giving

– When invited to someone’s home, it is customary to bring a host/hostess a box of gourmet chocolates or a bottle of wine. 

– If flowers are more your style, consider sending them a day in advance so as not to inundate a busy host/hostess bustling with last-minute preparations. 

– Do not send red roses to a friendly event, as those are associated with love. Steer clear of white lilies and chrysanthemums as those are considered funeral flowers.

– When receiving a gift, it’s polite to open it immediately in front of the gift giver. 

– Money is never a gracious gift. 

Corporate Gift Giving Etiquette in Canada

Traditionally in Canada business gift-giving is left to greeting cards and office parties. However, in recent years that trend is shifting, particularly around major holidays and finding moments to show employees appreciation.

Sending small gifts, such as a basket of sweets, or a bottle of wine, to show appreciation for a year of hard work is becoming the norm. The results speak for themselves! In offices where birthday gifts and celebrations for a particularly good quarter are common, morale and performance improve.

The short version? Thoughtful gifts given to show your appreciation and admiration for someone are always welcome in Canada. 

You’ve learned a ton about Gift Traditions in Canada. Now what?

  1. – Send a gift to Canada
  2. – Lean about sending gifts to Swizerland
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