Introduction

This imaginary exhibition introduces the Christmas traditions in Canada and France. Christmas is indeed one of the most celebrated festivity. From every corner of the world, the Nativity feast is marked by various celebrations. Canada and France offer you a summary of the diverse Christmas traditions. Three differents aspects are presented : social and communal customs , family celebrations and religious ceremonies.

From the Middle Ages up to today, the living cultural tradition inherits and borrows from the different cultures it encounters. Despite the everchanging evolution of tradition, due mainly to history and changes of mentalities, French legacy remains vivid in the Canadian tradition in Quebec as well as in the Western provinces. The perenniality of the English customs and the magic of the American tradition add to the wealth of the Canadian heritage. Each person who carries on the Christmas tradition perpetuates the true meaning of Christmas.

The focus of the Celebration of Christmas is on the gift : the gift given and received, the gift celebrated, and, the gift of meaning. Gifts come in many ways. Some surprise us along the path. They seem to come unbidden, a gift found. Others are given by loving hands, humble treasures perfect for this one person, perfect in speaking our fondness.
Christmas is full of gifts, gift-giving, and gracious acceptance. Gifts are spoken about in the story, legends, and rituals of Christmas, spoken about in the objects which surround us during this darkest season of the year.

Often we struggle to give presents, hoping to find a "real" gift. Occasionally we do, but most often not. Yet, strangely, each effort to give a present, and each present, humble or grand, if it is given in honour or affection or love, transforms a moment of life into the Christmas story, brings a moment of incarnate love, a glimpse of the mystery of a simple life. As it is told in the Biblical story.

We surround ourselves at Christmas, this season of gifts, with images that tell us of selfless generosity. And in our acts of gift-giving, we become a part of this redemptive season.