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COVID can’t kill Christmas, survey finds


December 7, 2020 

OTTAWA, ON – COVID will cut Canadians’ 2020 Christmas church attendance by more than half compared to last year. A new Angus Reid Institute survey, done in partnership with think tank Cardus, has found 11 percent of Canadians say they’ll physically attend a Christmas church service – down from more than one in four (26%) last year. However, technology will play a role for many others. Among Canadians who view Christmas as a religious holiday, almost half (45%) plan to follow an online church service related to one of Christianity’s holiest days.

“After nine months of pandemic-related restrictions and disruptions, Canadians are retaining some sense of the spiritual importance of Christmas,” says Ray Pennings, executive vice president of Cardus. “COVID is a soul-destroying phenomenon that has left many of us more isolated and more vulnerable. Continuing Christmastime religious observance points to our deeper need for spiritual sustenance that government aid programs – important though they are – cannot meet.”

The survey also finds that Christmas and other holiday celebrations will be different this year:

  • 58 percent of us will host family dinners, down from almost 90 percent in 2019.
  • Less than a third of us will visit family or friends, down from 81 percent last year.
  • One in 10 will travel to another community or province, dropping from half in 2019.
  • 40 percent of us say we’ll donate to charity, compared to 47 percent of us last year.

“The drop in planned charitable donations is especially concerning,” says Pennings. “Charities hurting because of COVID are depending especially on gifts around this time of year. The federal government missed its opportunity to set up a dollar-for-dollar donation-matching program that more than 120 charities have advocated to rescue the sector. Hopefully, Canadians will come through regardless.”

Full poll results and notes on methodology are available at

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