Christmas for Canadian soldiers overseas was very different from those they had experienced at home. With many goods rationed, gifts were often small, useful items that could be easily shipped through the mail like this handkerchief. For a soldier stationed on the front lines, their only remembrance of the holiday might be a Christmas carol sung with his fellows, an extra ration of food, or a card or package from home, if he celebrated the day at all.

For the soldiers stationed in Great Britain, however, the holiday was usually observed. Soldiers celebrated in barracks, attended church services, and went to canteens and dances. Packages were sent and received and the cooks prepared special Christmas dinners.

For members of the Canadian Women’s Army Corps, Christmas trees were put up and barracks decorated. They also held Christmas parties for the bombed-out children of London and distributed handmade toys and candy.

Despite being in the middle of a war, Canadian soldiers did their best to celebrate the Christmas season. For example, on Christmas Day 1944 The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa (M.G.) held a Christmas dinner "somewhere in Holland". The menu – which included soup, trout, turkey, pork, peas, potatoes, pudding, pie, cheese, crackers, coffee, oranges, candy, cigars and beer – listed each of the entrees with a geographical title. This reflected the towns and cities that the battalion had either helped to capture or the areas in which they had fought so far. Printed on paper supplied by the Canadian YMCA, the menu also noted that "no tips" were to be paid.
Canadian Heritage Information Network
1942-12-25 - 1944-12-25
Great Britain, UNITED KINGDOM
Holland, NETHERLANDS
London, England, UNITED KINGDOM
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