4 Ways to Celebrate a Canadian Christmas While you Study English in Canada

ESL School Canada
Students pose with Santa Claus at the CultureWorks Christmas Party

Canadians love Christmas. The day after Halloween, stores across the country rush to put up their holiday decorations. Local radio stations start playing Christmas carols, and Canadians begin preparing for the holiday season by baking cookies, buying presents, and throwing Christmas parties.

How can you get in on the fun while you study English in Canada? Read on to find out!

1. Go Christmas Shopping While You Study English in Canada

The month leading up to Christmas is when Canadian stores are at their busiest. Lineups can get long, but it’s well worth the effort if you like shopping and want to see some beautiful decorations.

If you’re studying study English in Canada, then you might enjoy going to Toronto’s famous Christmas Market. Here’s a sneak peak at what this year’s market offers:

Toronto’s Christmas market is one of the top markets in the world. But, even if you can’t make a trip to Toronto this holiday season, you’ll still be able to enjoy the holiday cheer. Malls in every Canadian city put up decorations and special displays for the holidays, and many communities organise local craft fairs.

2. Bake Cookies with Your Friends from ESL School

Baking cookies is an important – and delicious! – part of the holiday season in Canada.

While you study English as a second language in Canada, ask some friends if they want to get together and bake Christmas cookies after class or over a weekend. You can make traditional Christmas cookies like gingerbread, or try a Canadian favourite called Nanaimo bars (named after the Canadian city of Nanaimo in British Columbia).

And, if you really want to get creative, you can even try making an entire gingerbread house, complete with candy and icing decorations! Canadians often display these at Christmas parties.

Study English in Canada

3. Host an “Ugly Sweater” Party While You Study English in Canada

Ugly sweater parties are one of the newest Canadian Christmas traditions to hit the holiday scene. What is an ugly sweater party? It’s a party where everyone has to come wearing the brightest, most over-the-top Christmas sweater they can find.

English as a second language in Canada
Classic examples of an “ugly” Christmas sweaters

The Christmas sweater party tradition started in 2001, when younger Canadians wore them to be ironic and funny. Since then, ugly Christmas sweater parties have been getting more and more popular.

To throw your own ugly sweater party, all you have to do is find an ugly sweater at a local second hand shop. Invite your friends (and ask them to wear an ugly sweater too!). You can serve the Christmas cookies you baked, as well as traditional drinks like egg nog or warm mulled wine.

4. Organize a Secret Santa with Your Friends from ESL School

Want to share presents this Christmas? Consider organizing a “Secret Santa” with your friends.

ESL Student
An ESL student shows off a Christmas gift he got at the CultureWorks Christmas party.

There are several different ways to do a Secret Santa. You can put all your friends’ names in a hat, and have each person pick a name and then buy a present for that person. Or, you can have everyone buy a present, wrap it, and put them in a pile. Then, pull names out of a hat to see who gets to choose and open a present first. Either way, everyone has fun and walks away with a new Christmas gift!

What other holiday traditions would you like to celebrate at ESL school in Canada?