When I think about holiday traditions, I think about two things: family and food. So many of my favourite memories involve sitting around the table with family and friends, sharing a meal together.

I was born and raised in Ottawa, but my dad moved here from Nova Scotia, and my mom came from Northern Ontario. With no other family in Ottawa, our tradition was to spend Christmas dinner with two other families in our neighbourhood. Hosting duties rotated, with the host family in charge of the turkey, while another brought sides and vegetables, and the other family brought desserts. It was always like something out of a Christmas movie, with a table full of food, and 13 of us gathered around to watch the father carve the turkey.

As I got older, moved out, and eventually got married, my traditions changed, but that focus on family and food never has. This year, the pandemic put a major dent in our plans, so my husband and I decided to spend Christmas together, just the two of us. While it’s disappointing not to be seeing our families, we are doing our best to make it special and create new traditions, even if they are just for one year.

Our first stop was to our local butcher for some inspiration. It doesn’t feel like Christmas to me without turkey, but since this is a very different Christmas, we were open to all options. The butcher suggested a prime rib roast, which we both love to eat and felt special for the occasion. We also picked up bacon and farm fresh eggs for Christmas breakfast. Next we picked up produce and dairy, focusing on fresh, in-season, and local foods.

Buying Canadian for our holiday meals was a conscious choice we made. Shopping locally supports jobs in our community and supports our area’s economy. Many people think eating Canadian food is more expensive, but that’s simply not the case. Canadian products are fresh, delicious, and preferable to international alternatives.

Whether you are celebrating time-honoured traditions or creating new ones, supporting Canadian farmers and producers can become part of your holiday shopping choices. You can feel confidence in knowing that Canadian food is world-class, sustainable, and cost-effective.