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By Michael Monopoli

With the holiday season in full swing, COVID-19 cases are rising across the nation. Will Canadians be staying home for the holidays this year? How will celebrations be affected?

Every year, we ask Canadians how they are planning to celebrate the holidays.

Here’s a summary of what we found:

The holiday season can bring about some mixed emotions from Canadians. When asked to describe how the holiday season made them feel in just one word, the most commonly mentioned was joy. The second most mentioned was sadness,  highlighting just how different some of us feel this time of year. While the holiday season can be an exciting and hopeful time for many, it can also be a time of loneliness, stress, and anxiety, most likely amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic and emerging variants.

Make sure to keep your sanitizer and mask ready! Nearly one in four (23%) Canadians will be hosting a holiday meal with family and/or friends this year and over one in two (52%) will be travelling to another household to attend a holiday party. Looking at those who will be travelling, 76% will be staying local, while 15% will be traveling to another part of the province, 7% traveling to another province all together, and 2% plan to travel internationally.

So, what’s on the menu this holiday season? Well, 65% of the holiday dinners will feature turkey as the main course (+9 points from 2020), 21% will be having chicken (+10 points from 2020), 8% ham, and 7% a vegetarian dish (+3 points from 2020). Among those under 45, only 53% will have turkey, while 30% will have chicken, 8% will have ham and the same amount (8%) will have a vegetarian dish.

We also asked Canadians to choose their preferences for many classic holiday favourites.

Here’s a summary:
• Canadians are split on the type of Christmas tree they prefer: real trees (51%) beat artificial trees (49%) by a hair, flipping the script on 2020.
• Michael Bublé (55%) is the favourite over Bing Crosby (45%) but a somewhat larger margin.
• Gift wrap options divide the nation: 51% prefer gift bags while 49% prefer wrapping paper.
• Hot chocolate (68%) easily beats eggnog (32%) as the preferred holiday beverage.
• More would prefer to receive cash as a holiday gift (58%) than a gift card (42%).

Finally, almost eight in ten Canadians would prefer to have snow on Christmas than no snow on Christmas (22%).

Wondering what Canadians consider their holiday favourites? We asked about their favourite holiday staples such as cookies, side dishes, movies, and songs. Turns out, most Canadians prefer shortbread cookies, stuffing, Home Alone, and Holy Night. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll please everyone with these choices. Among those under 45 years old, chocolate chip cookies, potatoes, and Jingle Bells reign supreme, with Home Alone holding it’s spot as favourite holiday movie between groups.

For those who were curious, the full results are as follows:

Favourite holiday Cookie:

Shortbread – 35%

Chocolate Chip – 28%

Gingerbread – 19%

Sugar – 9%

Butter – 8%

Favourite Holiday Side Dish:

Stuffing – 36%

Potatoes – 33%

Vegetables – 14%

Cranberry Sauce – 10%

Pigs in a Blanket – 6%

Favourite Holiday Movie:

Home Alone – 37%

National Lampoons Christmas Vacation – 22%

Elf – 14%

It’s A Wonderful Life – 14%

Miracle on 34th Street – 13%

Favourite Holiday Song:

Holy Night – 26%

Jingle Bells – 20%

White Christmas – 19%

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas – 18%

All I Want for Christmas is You – 17%


This survey was conducted with 1,485 Canadian adults from December 13th to December 16th 2021.  The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.543%, 19 times out of 20.

The survey was conducted using a random sample of panelists invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.

The data was weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region.


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