History of Christmas Presents in Canada

In Canada, the custom of giving Christmas presents is relatively recent. From the beginning of New France to the end of the XIXth century, gifts were exchanged at New Year’s and not at Christmas. Newspaper advertising gradually led people to give some of their presents at Christmas and to keep others for New Year’s. As with gifts, Christmas stockings soon replaced shoes placed by the chimney.

In the last quarter of the XIXth century, Christmas began to be the time to give children presents, at least in middle-class families. Department stores sold a great variety of children’s toys and suggested a wide selection of gifts for adults to give one another. With the growing popularity of Santa Claus, and a little later in the 1930’s of "Père Noël" (Father Christmas), presents came to be exchanged only at Christmas.

CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network
CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network

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