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 Holla Read More
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.

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Pink silk handkerchief edged with white lace

Pink silk handkerchief edged with white lace. Printed in one corner is a Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) cap badge and "Christmas in England, 1942."

Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Regimental Museum and Archives
1942-12-25
© Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Regimental Museum and Archives


This menu details the meal served to the Cameron Highlanders in Holland, 1944.

This menu details the meal served to the Cameron Highlanders in Holland, 1944. The dishes are named after cities and towns the regiment had passed through in the previous few months.

Ken Reynolds
1944-12-25
© The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa Regimental Museum


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Develop an understanding of the participation and role of Canada’s Army in the World War II
  • Examine the contributions, sacrifices and experiences of individuals who participated in military events during World War II
  • Identify key locations in which Canada’s military operated during World War II
  • Evaluate the weapons and technology used by Canadian soldiers

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