A Brief History of Christmas Time in Canada
Christmas time is here again! As we gather around the Christmas tree, huddle together as a family around the TV and watch the latest Christmas special, listen to Michael Bublé warble out the latest hit Christmas carol, and finally rest our weary heads, our backs and our limbs on a soft, new O Mattress™ from Omni Mattress™, we should look back and check out what makes Christmas so awesome. The presents? The fun times with family and friends? The presents? The Christmas specials on TV? The Christmas carols on your radio? The presents? All that wonderful food? The great holiday shopping? The presents, a Christmas mattress like an O Mattress™ memory foam mattress under your Christmas tree?
We wouldn’t have the great holiday we celebrate to this day without all that came before it. Without the history, there’s no great Christmas music, no tasty Christmas treats, no parties with friends during the holidays, no family gatherings, and no presents. That’s more of a nightmare left behind with your old innerspring mattress soon.
Instead, let’s look back at Christmas to see why it’s such a great holiday.
From Winter Solstice to Saturnalia, Before There Was Christmas
Did you know Christmas originated from the winter solstice? It’s true! And you know how much we Canadians talk about winter!
Winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, so once it passes there’s the promise of better times ahead.
The ancient druids may not have had much more than straw and animal furs for a mattress (unlike our more modern, more comfortable, and much cooler memory foam mattress like the O Mattress™), but they knew a lot about astronomy and the seasons. They used Stonehenge to calculate the exact time of the winter solstice, combining its unique stone layout with the position of the suns and stars. When they found the day of the winter solstice, they would celebrate with a feast around the ancient monument.
The Romans, as luxury-loving people who’d appreciate our memory foam mattresses, had a winter solstice festival called Saturnalia. It would start a week from the winter solstice and wouldn’t stop for at least a month. Schools and businesses closed, feasts, and drinking would begin. Slaves became the masters and vice versa. It was an awesome celebration, and all that decadence would tire anyone out (maybe they need a better mattress?).
And then there were the Vikings, with their own twist on the winter solstice festival called ‘Yule’. They made offerings, feasted, drank, and had a great time. It was also one of the Viking’s greatest cultural exports. Germanic and Anglo-Saxon cultures also had their own Midwinter festival.
It’s not so clear cut as to say Christmas comes directly from the winter solstice, but it’s safe to say it heavily influenced Christmas.
If all those ideas from winter solstice festivals sound familiar, such as the yule log, the Christmas tree, Christmas wreath, parties and gift giving seen in Saturnalia and Yule sound familiar, they should be. Where do you think people got all those ideas for Christmas?
As Christianity became the dominant religion in Europe, they sucked up everything they could and made it Christian. Pagan gods became saints and festivals became holy days, or holidays. Winter solstice festivals were no exception. Saturnalia’s biggest day, December 25th, became the birthday of Jesus Christ. With it came the feasting, drinking, and gift-giving. From Yule came the Christmas tree, the Christmas wreath, and the yule log.
Some Christians showed enthusiasm for the partying. Others saw the pagan origins and shied away, or used the day to worship in Christmas masses. Sometimes they couldn’t even agree on the date! (Maybe they needed to sleep on it? We have a mattress for that!)
Not one religious group, nation or even city had a universal way to celebrate Christmas. But when many people settled in the new world, they brought their traditions with them, including how they celebrated Christmas.
Christmas in Canada
Canada has a variety of Christmas traditions that come from the old world, and depending on what part of the country you’re from or where your ancestors came from, you could celebrate Christmas differently from your neighbour!
If you’re fortunate to be in Quebec during the festive season, you might feast during the ‘Réveillon’ after Christmas Eve mass, enjoying a ‘Tortière’ or a ‘ragoût aux pattes de cochons’. Or if you’re in a Ukrainian community, you might enjoy a 12-course meal on the 6th of January (Roll me to my O Mattress™, I’m stuffed!). But if you’re like many Canadians, you get your Christmas traditions from the British, who brought over such cool Christmas stuff as the Christmas tree, Christmas cards, the kiss under the Mistletoe, Christmas carolling, and letters to Santa.
But we have our own Canadian twist on the old holiday. Children write their letters to Santa and send them by Canada Post (sure, the Finnish think they know where Santa lives, but we know better). Toronto hosts the oldest and largest Santa Claus Parade in the world, started in 1913! We’re known for our fir and pine trees, so we supply lots of Christmas trees at Christmas time. The Boston Christmas Tree comes from Nova Scotia; it’s sent as a thank you for Boston’s help during the Halifax disaster.
From taffy pulls to mummering to ice sculptures, cookie-baking parties, tobogganing and Hockey Night in Canada, we put a great spin on the holidays.
Christmas as we Know it Today
Christmas is always evolving here in Canada. Not only do we get many immigrants bringing their own traditions from throughout the world, but we also borrow Christmas traditions from our neighbours to the south!
The United States introduced a lot of cool stuff, like Christmas movies and TV specials, hit Christmas singles like Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree and Bing Crosby’s Christmas carols. Mind you, we bring our own Christmas songs to the party, and we’re good at it. Americans also introduced Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving that kicks off the holiday shopping season, and Cyber Monday, the biggest day for us in online mattress sales!
Sure, we still have our Christmas tree, we still have our Christmas dinner and we like to open one gift on Christmas Eve before we go to bed before midnight so Santa can sneak down the chimney and deliver gifts on Christmas Day. Our unique Canadian take on Christmas has a lot of American influence, and that’s okay; they add a little spice to make the holiday nice!
Also, we gave the Americans Boxing Day, so they have another huge holiday shopping day to add to their impressive repertoire. You’re welcome!
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
As you lay yourself to rest on your brand new O Mattress™ from Mattress Omni™, know we are more than an online mattress store with the best bed-in-a-box in the business. Looking for a mattress store near me? We want to provide you and your family with the best sleep on our three layer memory foam mattress and give you and your family the comfort and support you need during this holiday season.
And if you don’t have an Omni Mattress™ of your very own… what are you waiting for? Ordering a Omni Mattress™ is easy, we ship right to your door, you could even have your O Mattress™ in time for Christmas.
Worried Christmas spending has you in a bad credit situation? Don’t be! Bad credit or no credit, you’re guaranteed approval with our O Powerline™. With up to $3000 in-store credit on all our O Mattress™ memory foam mattresses, you could have a mattress for you, the entire family, even your friends! And best of all we ship to almost anywhere in Canada. And now with Flexiti and PayBright purchase financing, your options for buying a mattress online are better than ever!
As you shop now to get approved for your O Mattress™ from Omni Mattress™, know that we value you and the quality of your sleep. So for a better rest this holiday season, throw out your old mattress, toss away your old mattress topper, and check out the O Mattress™ from Mattress Omni™. You don’t even have to fight the holiday crowds at a mattress gallery. We have a mattress Christmas sale for you!
Sleep well and enjoy the holidays… however you celebrate it.