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Editorial: Cowichan has lots to offer the holiday shopper

Buy locally this year
Check out your options for shopping locally for Christmas in Cowichan in 2023. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

You may have noticed in our last few editions the pieces we’ve included about the many craft fairs and markets popping up in Cowichan for Christmas.

Our downtowns are also dressing up for the holidays with beautiful displays and warm festive lights.

If you, like most of us, buy gifts and other seasonal accoutrements, it’s the perfect time to explore these local options. Buying locally has huge benefits.

Nov. 27 to Dec. 3 is BC Buy Local Week and reminds us of some of the reasons to look local this holiday season.

During the holidays the average Canadian spends $1,600 on travel, food, drinks and gifts. The whole community benefits when that money is spent locally.

Local shops contribute jobs and taxes to our towns and villages. On top of that $63 of every $100 spent in town is recirculated back into the local economy, compared to 14 per cent with multinationals. These are our friends, family and neighbours we’re supporting. Also, it’s just fun to poke through boutiques on the streets of Duncan or Chemainus, Cobble Hill, Crofton, Lake Cowichan, Shawnigan Lake or Mill Bay as holiday music plays and the Christmas lights brighten even the most dreary winter day.

Our local shops also help keep our local events, charities and sports teams afloat with donations and other support.

If you prefer to shop online, try checking out a local shop’s website, and keep some of the $4 billion per month that Canadians spend online in the community.

When you buy things that are locally made, you’re directly supporting B.C.’s approximately 30,000 working artists and 171,000 manufacturing employees.

Browsing through locally made products at craft fairs you’ll find everything from soap to clothing, jewelry to wood products. And you’ll put money directly into the creators’ pockets. Chances are good it’s even someone you know.

Cowichan is also lucky to be a hub for amazing local food and beverages. Everything from veggies to meats, breads to sweets for your holiday table can be found, made or grown by a local farm or artisan. Cowichan also boasts award winning wines, spirits and beer to go with your feast. These can also make great gifts for the foodies on your list.

BC Buy Local Week encourages people to shift just one per cent of their holiday spending ($15) to a local business, but we think Cowichan can do a lot better than that.

So make shopping locally part of the joy of the season this year. You won’t be disappointed.