First Christmas in Canada

Would you agree that Christmas is a favourite holiday? We start planning in July, decorating in November, sending invitations and buying gifts right after Thanksgiving. So much joy! 

We don’t always remember that for some people Christmas might be a different experience. Have you ever asked yourself how new immigrants and refugees feel at their first Christmas in Canada?

What is it like to move to a new country for a mom with five children, only to find herself isolated, lonely and dependant on an abusive husband? This was the story of one of our women who felt overwhelmed and hopeless. She had just ended a long relationship with her abusive husband, had no job and felt so vulnerable. And the Christmas season just added to the pressure. Her children, inspired by beautifully decorated malls and streets, assumed that Christmas was magic and were waiting for all their dreams to come true, now that they were in Canada. Her children wanted a room full of presents – toys, clothes, and decorations — everything they lost or never had back home that was burned down by war. 

A mother, pressured and overwhelmed, asked her Cridge support worker what should she do? She felt guilty for depriving her children of the joy of Christmas. So she wish-listed every single item of the list her children wrote to Santa (and it was a long list!). How surprised and relieved she felt when every single item from that list was purchased by generous donors from The Cridge Hamper Donor program and her children had their room full of gifts and a real Canadian Christmas!


This Christmas season, remember those who are less fortunate than you and share your Christmas joy by making a difference in someone else’s life. If you want to become a secret Santa for our families, email for more information.

By sharing your love, you help children and adults and give them a little (or big) Christmas miracle.


This story was shared with us by a manager of The Cridge Supportive Housing. Some details of this story were altered to protect the identity of the family.